“Get ready to experience emotional upheaval with a smile,” invites Halifax’s Mike Bochoff Band. They’ve just released their fourth album, ‘Distractions’, via Groundswell Music. The album, with its moments of solid rock in combo with the soft, the beautiful, the lyrical — is an invitation into the band’s sonic wonderland.
The band opens strong with ‘Spirit of ‘96’, a musical anthem of reflection that delivers its aural imagery in droves, particularly with cats like myself —who graduated from the high school in the same year.
“It’s not enough to rock and roll. It falls apart if it ain’t got soul.” The tune is soulful and delicious, with a healthy side of nostalgia. While the song is indeed a “long last wave of frequency”, Bochoff leads the mind to a new state of understanding while Mat Budreski brings back a garage band high on drums and percussion. The song’s hopeful ending leaves us not looking towards the past, but eager for the future.
Bochoff has many occasions to share with his listeners his unique construction of sound. In January and February, the band toured Germany with The Stanfields, packing with them the emotional charge of ‘Distractions’. I picture the shrieks of a hungry crowd when the band gives it their all in ‘Glory’, the heavy guitars which echo the epic glam rock greats that would fill the room with sound.
The more temperate ‘Sons of America’ seems a cautionary tale that speaks to the heartbeat of political movement. Grief and heartache pound through the seamless threads of the video’s divinity (watch it here), intercepted with sweet high notes and beautiful piano by Stephen Hare. Bochoff’s poetics are at play here, too: “The banner’s directing you to be all you can be under God’s trigger finder, a united state of emergency,” and the trio nicely rounds out the mysteries of where we go from here.
Bochoff continues to wake up the senses with ‘I Can’t Be Yours’, a timeless track which would identify with listeners struggling through their own inaudible melodies — and give them the courage to face difficult decisions. Bochoff’s trio permeates into our souls while exploring the quiet within us, providing us with a musical score that guides us into the deepest of aural mysteries. Watch the video for ‘I Can’t be Yours’ here.
All in all, ‘Distractions’ keeps us in tune the whole way through — and with a memorable lyrical journey that knows that, “We can’t stay this young for so long.”