THe size sevens with heart murmur and lullabye arkestra at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West), Saturday (April 12). $4. 416-531-4635. Rating: NNNNN
Say what you want about suburbia, but something about living in a cultural wasteland gives rise to creative genius. Think American Beauty. Think Blue Velvet. When you're bored, you've gotta invent your own fun or go nuts, right?
That's the key for the baby-faced Malton boys who make up energetic post-punk outfit the Size Sevens. Barely old enough to loiter at the LCBO without getting carded, they've been rocking the GTA in various forms since they started shaving. Although some of them flirted with the wilds of downtown-dwelling, they're all safely -- and happily -- making music back in 905-land.
"Growing up in Malton was so good, man!" snorts guitarist Ronny Baker over coffee and smokes during a trip down to the city on a gloomy Saturday afternoon.
"Living by the airport is amazing! Honestly, it's just a small place that's gone downhill in the last 10 years or so. I think it's gonna get better, though. They'll hopefully invest a little bit more money into it. There's talk about a Taco Bell being put up there!"
And Taco Bell is the first sign of gentrification, right?
"That's what I hear," says Baker. "We've had a McDonalds for years, and there's, like, eight pizza places."
When not plundering Malton's fast food establishments, the Size Sevens play effervescently spiky indie pop about ex-girlfriends and itchin' to leave their hometown.
Listening to their demo EP (available at live shows, including Saturday's gig at the Gladstone), you're transported back to high school on a current of ridiculously hooky Pixiesish bass lines and fizzy guitar riffs.
Their influences shimmer through in a frenetic mishmash -- hints of Sloan, Frank Black, the Beatles and Nirvana -- that reminds you of when pop music seemed novel, non-derivative and exciting.
The hilarious foursome have an extensive band history behind them. Bassist Paul #1 and guitarist (Faux-)Paul-Julien Tanti impressed the likes of the Lullabye Arkestra (who open for them Saturday) with their indie rock duo the Pauls.
"Paul and I met when I was in grade 9 and he was in OAC, at a semi-formal," reminisces Paul #1.
"I was knockin' back Coca-Colas, and he told the bartender to cut me off of the Cokes. Then we played on a hockey team together, but we didn't really know each other. He knew I played guitar, and I knew he wrote lyrics, so I was his Johnny Marr and he was my Morrissey."
They played with guitarist Baker (ex of Malton faves the Suicycles) in a band called Sleeve Movement, and newest addition Brandon Jones is a throwback to Paul #1's earliest project, high school punk group Brady.
The current incarnation of the Size Sevens seems built to last. People like the Wavelength posse are starting to take notice of the band's ecstatic live energy and super-solid pop rock songwriting. The neat thing about the outfit is their shared writing approach -- the boys claim their Sloan-slash-Beatles model of rotating frontmen/writers serves to defuse potential infighting and jealousy, but it also serves to keep their sound fresh and varied.
"Like any band you'd ask, we'd like to be the Beatles," smiles Tanti.
"We want to play a solid 10 years and then break up, hate each other and do our own solo stuff. In this band there are definitely too many Johns and not enough Georges, although I think that's a good thing, 'cause we're all take-charge sorta guys. It's what drives this band forward.
"We'll play to our deaths. Even if nobody wants to hear it, we'll take it back to the basement and play there. We've always got Malton to go back home to, so it's all right."firstname.lastname@example.org