The Hermit seem to be getting an early jump on summer this year. Every song on the Vancouver five-piece’s latest, Turn Up (The Stereo), is tailor-made for cruising around with the top down, or perhaps going down the old mine with a transistor radio. The album is produced with a light hand, with breezy harmonies coasting over the interplay of electronic and traditional instrumentation. Live flute, strings and horns add a sprinkling of pep, while Duane Murrin’s guitar is clean and gracious, careful never to get carried away and risk overpowering the band’s bubble-light sound.
If one major complaint can be made about Turn Up (The Stereo), it’s that it’s too tasteful. It takes few risks and hovers around the same emotional pitch. Allison Shevernoha’s honeyed, lisped vocals are like Shuswap Lake in July: shimmering and frothy, but too uniform to be exciting. While the album is rife with hooks and transcendent pop moments (the sultry, purring chorus of “Si Vous Me Quittez” is absurdly singable), after a few listens some people might find themselves wishing they had more to chew on.
Still, the replay value of the album cannot be denied, especially as the days get longer. Although it seems like a forgettable effort right now, it might just take some warm weather and one solid week of sunshine for this to become the soundtrack of someone’s summer.