“Back Home in Ontario” by SONIK
In his debut single “Back Home in Ontario,” rock singer SONIK is quick to invite us “To the place where I was born / It’s the place where I belong / It’s so much fun back where I came from / It’s my home Ontario,” with his voice serving as an enticing encapsulation of everything the great Canadian province is made of. There’s a pop component beneath his execution here, but make no mistake about it – SONIK wants to resurrect rock n’ roll from the ashes in this top-notch tribute to Ontario, and for my money, he hits it out of the park.
The Sonic Memes, the backing band here, have as much weight to throw around as our lead vocalist does, and my gut tells me that they might have been holding back a bit in the studio for this piece. There’s a lot of charged energy they’re breaking off as a unit, but you can tell that they’re stepping back a bit for SONIK to control the tempo with his singing. He’s got quite the presence, and his charm has a way of making the play these musicians are putting forth sound all the more cutting.
I love how simple the lyrics are in “Back Home in Ontario,” and I think there’s a case to be made that they wouldn’t have had the same emotional authenticity were they complicated with a lot of intellectual poeticisms or outright allusions to regional culture outsiders wouldn’t understand. As this track is laid out now, it has a cross-cultural appeal that has become increasingly difficult to find in the Canadian underground over the last few years, and it’s part of the reason why I think SONIK is likely to do as well south of the border as he does at home.
There’s a good balance in this mix between vocals and instrumentation, and even though the drums pick up a little harder than the bass does close to the end of the song, they never eclipse any of the melodic elements here. This is half because of good producing and half because of incredible arranging on SONIK’s part; where a lot of other bands and artists would have let smaller details like this slide post-recording, it’s something this guy takes seriously from beginning to end in the studio, which is a further testament to how much he cares about rock’s present state.
“Back Home in Ontario” is a really intriguing listen from a player representative of an expanding underground scene that despite producing a handful of misses in the past is primed to have way more hits in 2022 than anyone initially expected. SONIK has the voice and the persona to do some amazing thing with his career and just judging from what he’s been able to do in this first offering, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that his proper full-length debut is probably going to be worth its weight in gold – especially to the rock faithful like myself.