Jim Newton, a Vancouverite whose previous band, Sons of Freedom, received critical notice in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, is the creative force behind pop/rock band Rat Silo. After a 12 year hiatus from the music industry, Jim has assembled a crack band of industry veterans—including members of Jakalope, Numb, 54-40, SNFU and the Tainted Lovers—to record Doubleplusungood.
The album shows all the signs of a guy who has returned to making music for the right reasons: he’s good at it and he loves it. And at this point in his career, Newton’s not going to pull his punches, and has earned the right to tell it like it is, as opening rocker “Oh, Fuck Off Tony” sardonically demonstrates. But if this is a man who casts a weary eye at the world (“I Blame It On Your Momma” and “Jiggle My Wiggle”), he has come out with his optimism (mostly) intact, an achievement in itself, which he celebrates on “Shiny Light.” He has also not lost his capacity to love, which expresses itself in wonder and gratitude for relationships on “Hello Beautiful Girl” and “Candy Let Your Hair Hang Down.” The songs are unpretentiously simple in both composition and arrangement, and while this approach can make for music that occasionally sounds familiar, the essence of this music lies in its spirit, not innovation. Hopefully that’s something that music fans can still be grateful for.