JOEL PLASKETT -EMERGENCYs, false alarms, shipwrecks, castaways, fragile creatures, special features, demons and demonstrations.
(Released June 14, 2011)
When some artists strain to fill an order of a 10 song album, after a steady diet of 5 song EP's, Joel Plaskett delivers a 5 course meal (with several amuse-bouches and disgestifs) to fill the listener's song-belly to overflow. Mining out some long-hidden treasures and compilation gems, Plaskett's ability to pan through the caverns of his own work, and make dusty trinkets into collector's items, is utterly soul-stirring. After punching out the time-card at 20 tracks, there's no way that anyone can accuse this man of under-contributing.
Although some of these tracks have been available before ('On The Rail' and a cover of Irma Thomas' 'Hurt's All Gone'), they are no less relevant as they are now all accessible to fans in the same location. In fact, for fans of Plaskett and The Emergency's live show, the track order of this album is fairly comparable to a lot of their set lists. I was pleasantly surprised with a fuzzed-up, buzzed-up version of 'Make A Little Noise' that gives this song a little 'umph' which the original version lacked. 'When I Go' is another unexpected but beautiful, strummy b-side from Three that features the lovely vocal licks of Rose Cousins and Anna Egge. Other than 'Money In The Bank' (which is a little laborious and overly garaged at times), all of the songs on this record are listenable, likeable and deliver exactly what your favourite band delivers every time you see them live; they bring old songs back to life.
Plaskett is making himself into something of a pioneer in the Canadian music scene as he is unafraid of the caterwauling of the critics. 27 songs are too many for an album? Poppycock. A b-side record of 20 tracks is overdoing it? Hogwash. Time and time again, his sometimes-twangy-but-always-rockin' register of songs demonstrates his love for his country and his keen, wordsmithy and ever-wet songwriting pen. 'Emergencys...' shows us more of the same but it also illuminates the ability of a true artist to give old canvases a new coat of paint.