THE SCHOMBERG FAIR play Sneaky Dee’s on June 14, 11 pm, as part of NXNE. See listing. Rating: NNNN
The punk aspect of the Schomberg Fair's brand of banjo-fuelled Americana is often played up in descriptions of the band. But on the Toronto trio's newest EP, Providence, a companion to the Mercy EP released eight months ago, it's a sludge metal influence that's much louder. Hugely thick distorted riffs slink through the five tunes, still rooted in Matt Bahen's nimble banjo-picking, Gothic narratives and rough-hewn voice.
Touched By Fire and Paper Cranes kick things off with the band's trademark baritone group vocals and breakneck banjo and drum rhythms. The surprises come halfway through: the wistful Don't Forget Me starts gently but veers into smashing, half-time drums and unhinged riffage layered thick like cement, The Fire The Flood brings a psychedelic edge, while Black Crow River slams you (almost) right off the top. Heavy and original.
Top track: Don't Forget Me