Music videos that literally capture the essence of a band are the most difficult for any group to create, and in this sense, what The Respectables have recently accomplished in the video for the title track of their new album The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll deserves to be credited as a watershed achievement for these Canadian rockers. Frame by frame, the Hollywood-quality production of the video attacks us with its visually-rousing imagery, taking us onto the desert floor, the empty fields of a country farm, and out to a pristine waterfront, all of which end up providing the perfect acoustic setting for The Respectables to let their rhythm run wild. They don’t want us to merely listen to this song – they want us to absorb every inch of musical intensity that they bring to the table in the studio, and through this divinely stylized mix of sharp images and sublime audio, they manage to do just that. The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll is an unstoppable hurricane of rock, country and pop hooks, and it’s got critics from one side of North America to the next abuzz right now.

The album is quite highbrow in tone from both a compositional and a cosmetic standpoint, and though it sports some songs that gleefully embrace the folkier side of the country spectrum (“As Good as Love Gets,” “Oasis” and “Limousine” in particular), the central focus in this album is its bulging guitar and bass arrangements. “That Girl,” “The Shotgun Seat” and “Mardi Gras” are visceral and don’t have any time for the unassuming emotionality of “18 Wheeler” and “Highway 20,” but they don’t make the softer songs seem out of place even slightly here.

It’s been said by some of my journalistic contemporaries that The Respectables are a lot more like three different bands rolled into one than they are a straight-up, easy to categorize group of hard rock stewards, and for me, this album does a lot to back up that notion. They’re not even trying to hide their internal complexities from us on this record; if anything, they’re running head-on into the experimental wall in front of them and smashing through it with ease (and grandiosity).

There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with The Respectables in The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll, but for me personally, I think that it’s their untried approach to weaving relatable lyrics and romanticized string work together without ever drawing from the same well as their predecessors that stands out as this LP’s most alluring attribute. You don’t have to be the biggest fan of classic rock to appreciate the degree of integrity that they possess as a group and display passionately in these songs, but for those of us who live for a warm, tube-amplified melody faceted with delicious grooves, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll is currently available everywhere that indie music is sold and streamed, and if it’s the new standard for what we can expect out of this band as time goes by, then this won’t be the last time that you see The Respectables making international headlines.

Michael Rand

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Michael Rand

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