Under Review

Two Hours Traffic

Territory (Bumstead)

Review By Alex Hudson

Two Hours Traffic’s last album, 2007’s Little Jabs, earned the Charlottetown group a short list nomination for the coveted Polaris Prize. Given this successful track record, it’s not surprising that the band chose to employ a similar formula for the follow-up. None of the songs on Territory are as immediately catchy as past singles “Stuck for the Summer” or “Nighthawks,” but there are still plenty of memorable moments. “Noisemaker” is a shimmering pop anthem structured around a two-note guitar hook and subtle falsetto harmonies. The fuzz-drenched “Happiness Burns” scales back the group’s usual earnestness in favour of dreamy guitar leads and effectively deadpan vocals.

Although the singles have less immediate pay off, Two Hours Traffic honed its ballad writing abilities for Territory. The keyboards are more prominent than ever before, as the haunting “Wicked Side” is punctuated by chilling electric piano riffs. Best of all is the closer “Sing a Little Home.” With a faintly distorted electro beat, resonant piano chords and “love is all you need” f-style lyrics, it’s the gentlest and most effective moment of the album. Special credit goes to producer Joel Plaskett, who coaxes out the atmospheric elements of the group’s sound and prevents the album from seeming too much like a Little Jabs rehash.