The Sadies have always been an impressive live band, combining surf rock, country rock, spaghetti western and psychelia in colorful ways. On Favorite Colours, brothers Travis and Dallas Good lead the Toronto-based quartet through their best studio work. It’s the band’s most focused record to date, with songs of depth, density and drama. In addition, the Good brothers’ vocals take a more prominent role, though it’s still the integration and mastery of styles that provide much of the show.
The Byrds are a particular reference point for the band here. Opening instrumental “Northumberland West” is a tribute to that band’s late guitarist Clarence White (The Byrds had a tune called “Nashville West”). Ringing 12-string acoustic guitars color “Why Be So Curious (Part 3).” The early electric Byrds inform the instrumental “Only You and Your Eyes,” while “A Good Flying Day” sounds more like Roger McGuinn’s late period country leanings. And another Byrds aficionado, Robyn Hitchcock, turns up singing lead on the album’s last track. He also wrote the lyrics to “Why Would Anybody Live Here?”
But the Sadies also prove they can do up-tempo rave ups like “Coming Back.” And cinematic, spooky instrumentals like “The Curdled Journey” and “A Burning Snowman” alternate with somber, spacey ones like “The Iceberg.”
As for the Good brothers’ vocals on the non-instrumental tracks, they’re often gang harmony style, as on “Translucent Sparrow.” But the pedal steel-colored “1000 Cities Falling (Part 1)” has a deadpan, storytelling cowboy style all its own.
The Sadies have taken their cosmic cowboy sounds to the next level on Favorite Colours. It’s time for more folks to check out one of the tightest, most creative, coolest bands in Canada.