Under Review

Shuyler Jansen


Black Hen

Review By Soren Bros.

What would Grandaddy sound like if they were from Edmonton and listened to the Corb Lund band? Well, one listen to Hobotron would at the very least be a start. From the beginning, it becomes evident that even though this is Shuyler Jansen’s debut solo album, he isn’t new to the scene. As the lead man of Edmonton’s Old Reliable, Jansen has also played with enough big name acts (Gord Downie, Calexico, Tegan and Sara, and Green Day just to name a few) that it’s almost a wonder that his name isn’t better known already. Even though his allegiance is closer to the alt-country than it is to the electronic, Hobotron walks the electro-country line in a stately manner, flushing out walking-pace songs with synths galore. Hobotron isn’t the most immediate album (outside of perhaps the first two songs, Whipping Boy and Write your Will), but it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard to come out of Edmonton, and its many subdued moments hint at something greater than just a few listens’ offerings.