Enter The Respectables’ The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll, and you will find yourself in what is perhaps the ultimate hybrid of vintage rock textures and new school, high definition tonality. The country crooning that lends its colorful, rustic sensibilities to “Highway 20” isn’t limited to this acoustic-rooted ballad alone; much like “Highway 20,” the singer/songwriter transmission “Limousine” and the twang-heavy “18 Wheeler” don’t waste our time with a bunch of ridiculous bells and whistles in their beats. These songs are all about celebrating the tenacity of the tempo, the sensational sway of the percussion, and the mountain-moving melodies that bind everything together. Tracks like the simplistic “Oasis” don’t minimize the impact of more multifaceted tunes like “As Good as Love Gets;” in fact, quite the contrary. These songs, in more ways than one, bring out the best in each other when played in a single sitting, and if you ask me, what The Respectables have created for their fans in The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll almost qualifies as progressive conceptualism, as playing it from start to finish is usually preferable to cherry picking from its complex and intricately-designed collection of tracks.
“Mardi Gras” slides into focus midway through the album, and though it’s one of the more pop-leaning tracks on the record, it isn’t restricted by its traditional structure. Both this song and “Wheel in My Hand” have really familiar rhythms, but the texture of their tonality is anything but recycled. “Give Some” bears a slight nod to the Guess Who in its opening salvo of chaotic riffs, but it slowly evolves into something that is unquestionably Respectables both in its sonic finish and, moreover, in its sensuously swaggering construction. “The Shotgun Seat” flirts with pop hooks but its beefy bassline doesn’t let it cross wires with a constrictive, unenthusiastic FM template. It’s not the flowing, chic workhorse that “That Girl” is, but to be fair, I’ve never heard a song quite like the slice of heaven from The Respectables that the latter track is. It rises from the ashes of the title track and beats us with its mischievous rhythm, and by the time it’s finished imparting its melody to us, resisting the urge to play it all over again becomes as tough as quitting a hard drug habit.
The music video for The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s title track truly sums up the transcendent, classic rock vibes of the record that it takes its name from, and while it’s admittedly very black and white in its symbolism, it’s exactly the shot of unfussy – but nevertheless engaging – visual fodder that I would expect, and honestly, demand from The Respectables. I’ve only been listening to this band for a little while now, but I can see why they’ve become the legendary crew that they have among big name Canadian rock acts, as they’ve got that all-important “it” factor that you just don’t find every day in this business. Their odyssey isn’t over yet, and this latest jaunt could be their most mesmerizing to date. It’s certainly got my attention, and my gut tells me that it’s going to get yours, as well.