Former Junkhouse guitarist/lead singer Tom Wilson’s ability to push sonic boundaries is evidenced on Lee Harvey Osmond’s two previous Polaris Prize-long-listed releases. Now he expands his resumé with 10 infectious blues and country tracks split into two distinct halves.
Side A is full of grimy, blues-heavy bangers featuring Wilson’s trademark growl. Shake The Hand fuses an earworm of a guitar lick with a pervasive, repetitive chorus. It’s one of his best songs to date. And Loser Without Your Love is a brave, near-seven-minute opener that channels Wilson’s inner vagabond in a modern folk classic. There are strong shades of Bob Dylan’s better recent work here.
Side B is a little safer and softer. Planet Love’s murky guitar solo could have been brought to the forefront, while velvety-smooth, jazzy Black Spruce’s lack of direction undermines the strong vision of the previous eight tracks.
Top track: Shake The Hand
Lee Harvey Osmond plays at Harbourfront Centre on October 1st. Win tickets here!