Gramercy Riffs

Desire Trails (independent)

Rating: NNNN

The overall mood of Desire Trails is so understated and reserved, it’s easy on your first listen to miss just how addictively catchy the laid-back slacker pop tunes are. Even their biggest choruses have a restrained and almost resigned quality that makes the songs deceptively casual and shrouds how well constructed they are. Nevertheless, it’s quite the grower, and could attract a lot of new fans.

They sound a lot more citified and mature than on their 2010 debut, It’s Heartbreak, perhaps as a result of relocating to Toronto from Newfoundland. Or maybe it’s just the natural product of aging. They sound less 90s indie rock now, instead bringing in elements of 70s folk rock and 80s new wave for a slicker effect. The dual male/female lead vocals are used more effectively and allow the band to navigate a wide range of pop/rock tangents while maintaining their identity. A sleepy listen, but sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for.

Top track: Heartbreak

Gramercy Riffs play a release show for Desire Trails tonight (Thursday, February 20) at the Drake.

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