Album Review :
Good Luck Varsity - The Road/The Rail/The Wreckage

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Band: Good Luck Varsity
Title: The Road / The Rail / The Wreckage
Label: N/A
Release Date: May 1, 2009
Review By: Scott L


01. The Rail
02. Hands In The Air
03. Prelude To A Shipwreck
04. …And With That, We Braced For Impact
05. Shipwrecked Safe & Sound
06. Beautiful Disaster
07. The Road

Good Luck Varsity is a 4-piece out of Canton, Michigan. Not to be confused with the Canton in China which was renamed Guangdong, possibly as a result of a letter writing campaign started by Canton, Michigan’s visitors bureau. Or maybe not. But you have to admit, that would have been really cool. At any rate, Good Luck Varsity is made up of three guys and a gal, and is set to release “The Road / The Rail / The Wreckage” on May 1, 2009.

In a culture that preaches diversity and individualism, while struggling desperately for conformity, I really appreciate bands that aren’t afraid to actually be creative with their music. You’ll find some familiar elements here, but typically the way they put them all together is what really stands out. There’s a whole lot going on and a variety of styles working together to produce a well-rounded sound that never seems to comes off as disjointed or overly busy. For lack of a more descriptive term, we’ll call Good Luck Varsity’s style alternative-indie-pop. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a whole lot that goes into the sound… but at it’s core, alt-indie-pop is what shines through. You have the loose alt feel, the indie creativity, and the pop sensibilities.

The vocals are soft, in tone not in volume, and are often anthemic. The guitars carry the songs with vigor. The bass and drums add nice punch and crash, respectively. And the keys flow in and out of the tracks, not unlike the great Guangdong River. Okay, I made that river up… but I had you for a second, right? The music is sometimes subtle. Sometimes riotous. In a good way.

“The Road / The Rail / The Wreckage” is a 7-song EP that jumps out of the gate with an almost Bulletproof Messenger sound before finding it’s stride and settling into a somewhat more relaxed pace. Not that they leave the groove behind. Believe me, the groove is persistent throughout this EP. Production is good. Instrumentation is good. Most everything is up tempo, brisk and fluid. This is music crafted to be played live. There’s very little here that doesn’t beg to be sung along to.

Lyrically, creativity shines through again. Take “Beautiful Disaster” for example, “today I found you staring at the sunrise / your toes beneath the sands / your mind immersed in images of foreign lands / and I have heard the stories of their treasures / and how ours don’t compare / there’s rumors that the snow and ice can stay alive down there / and I’m sure that they’re true / and I could be your beautiful disaster / my arms are tidal waves / and they will save you from the doldrums that your heart’s been living in / and replace them even faster with songs that make your spirit sing”. Poetic.

Standout track was “Prelude to a Shipwreck” which has just got a really cool flow to it. Can I get a witness? Hmmm. Worked better in the song. Runner up was “Beautiful Disaster” which has almost an early (i.e. pre-label signing) Caedmon’s Call vibe to it. Even thinking back, that was a really close call.

Overall: Good Luck Varsity is smart indie rock that’s both catchy and infectious. Mark your calendars… you won’t want to miss this one.