Friday, November 14, 2014

Up From the Underground : Pacanomad's "Restless"

The Canadian duo of guitarist Nick Cifaldi and singer Chantel Rivard, spent time developing their song writing chemistry before expanding into the full fledged band that is Pacanomad. Pacanomad released their debut "Restless ep" back in July. "Restless" opens with the Black Crowes like groove to "Heaven Can Wait".  Rivard has ample soul in her husky alto pipes to balance out the rock. At times the effect proves to be not unlike the middle of the road path Maroon 5 takes in this regard. The difference being is that these guys are way more organic. They don't have the over produced radio sound. Instead the band wisely goes for the warm sound that Brendan O Brian made popular not only with the Crowes, but artists like Pearl Jam in the 90's.

They waste little time  displaying  their chameleon like ability to blend with different styles while maintaining there own sound. They start to shift their shade into some more in line with 70's soul, yet manage to still carry rock drive. Chantel's vocals carry the perfect amount of punch to push the melodies right in the songs hook at the chorus. Delicately thoughtful guitar  sets the tone for the title track, moves them  from the bluesy  straight ahead rock they started off the album with. The vocals have more room to play and form melodies with a greater sense of depth and dynamics, almost like 60's soul, but with a much more modern rock tone than say what Amy Winehouse or the artists that sprung up after her death such as Adelle.

"Tell Me Not to Doubt" follows a similar formula , but with more groove injected into it, resulting in something closer to what Bonnie Raitt might do.  The rhythm section of drummer Zack Stewart and and bassist Dave Bell get there moment to shine here.  While there is no question  these guys are all capable players with loads of talent, it's Stewart who really proves the old saying that a band is only as good as there drummer. He keeps there sound from falling into you run of the mill blue band that is playing any BBQ in America and shifts the songs.

There is a pop inflected reggae undercurrent to the intro of "Till it's Mine". This element is enough to for Rivard to  twist her phrasing and show the Gwen Stefani influence that is keep in the closet up until this point. Their punchiest rock moment comes at the build up of this song which is a fitting way to close out the album. For a debut this is really strong effort, the bands strength lies in a balanced display of chops and memorable songwriting. They are still defining who they are, even as they explore a wide range of styles and sounds, which are fundamentally grounded in a classic sound of soul and blues that is run through a Marshall stack. This is how rock music was created in the first place so they have a pretty solid base to build upon from here. If you like very organic female fronted blues based roots rock then this is worth more than just a casual listen, though chances are it will drag you into the world of Pacnomad by the second song.

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