I’m not even close to being American, yet I got my shiny Nickel, back. in the form of a shadowy, awe-inspiring body of music that masquerades as a ‘Dark Horse‘.

2008 was in many ways a simpler time; my biggest worry was always something or other going on in my social circle at school, most probably with a focus on causing some lighthearted shenanigans – oh and some homework too, I suppose. I was at an age where my music taste was still in its relative infancy; I’d only just stopped watching music network chart shows and began to look beyond my love for Tinchy Stryder. The way I recall it, after the huge success of their mammoth track ‘Rockstar‘ put the Canadian rock gods on everyone’s radar, one of my closest friends decided to play detective and find out a bit about the group. This resulted in us tracking down a copy of the as-then recently released ‘Dark Horse‘ and gaining our first memories of falling in love, to a body of music.

I must give the project great credit for synchronising my appreciation for music with a twangy, lingering riff and good ole rock n roll. From this poignant starting point, I fell off the deep-end, into a sea of rock that surfed into metal and all of the various sub-genres I could at that point get my head around, until my hair touched my shoulders and devilhorns were thrown up at every given chance.

Stacked with what I will loosely but confidently refer to as bangers, ‘Dark Horse‘ is upon reflection a very complete album. It fulfils a variety of modes, has a connectable sound running consistently through each number and is backed by lots of effective thinking or structuring, as the flow of the album is endearing to it’s content and it really does not overstay it’s welcome. This last point feeds into how replay-able a body of work it is, as it doesn’t take much for you to yearn for the Dark Horse to come galloping back through your chosen speaker.

The lusty riff that comes in reinforcing the provocation hinted at through the candid lyrics about the female subject having something in her mouth is quite subtle, but does a lot to drive home the cheeky nature the song is building up and you can practically visualise the sly grin soaked in cheek on Chad’s face as he and company begin the serenade that ‘Dark Horse‘ is.

The project is packed with real feeling and a knack for relatable lyricism, it has such an overwhelmingly human feel that no matter if Chad is wailing about chasing tail, lingering in sombre tones about friends lost to drug addictions or feeling overly happy with life and savouring the moment, you feel a connectedness to each line.

Traversing all of the varying emotions you’d want from a singular album and doing it damn well, not only is ‘Dark Horse‘ a solid record and an answer to the hordes of Nickelback naysayers, it functions well as an ideal album template for those less knowing of such knowledge. Some might call it overproduced, taking away from the ethos of what rock’n’roll should be, I call it a sensitive ear for details and either way, simply in terms of success it bloody works.

After saying all this, one of the beauties of this band is how you can then look at an image just like the featured picture on this piece (purposefully chosen, at the top of the page) and just laugh at how ridiculous they look, but in a manner of laughing with them. I mean who can take that goof on the left in the shades and the signature shaggy curls seriously?! Or perhaps, that is the point right there, simply being able to overcome such a self parodying appearance and in doing just so, they make you, the sceptic consumer with the eclectic music taste, the parody.

– Always remember; no one chugs like Chad!

Dark Horse

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