Single Review: Arkells – “Never Thought This Would Happen”

Ontario Rockers Come Back Swinging

Heavy Plaid/Universal Music Canada

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The frighteningly underrated band Arkells out of Ontario, Canada have prospected a blissful existence under the indie-rock radar since they formed in 2007. They’ve released two admirable full lengths thus far – 2008’s gravelly, urban ballad Jackson Square, and the peaks and valleys of 2011’s mountainous Michigan Left. “Never Thought That This Would Happen” is the first single off their upcoming third record, produced by Tony Hoffer, the brains behind M83 and Phoenix, among others.

“Never Thought This Would Happen” has Arkells right where they left off, reflecting upon the recklessness of a hazy summer and all the antics that come along with it. Their working class brand of indie rock is even more potent than it was on their prior records, this song’s radiant energy bringing it to a new, lush territory. A heartening symphonic arrangement plays behind front-man Max Kerman’s harmoniously chapped vocals, both accompanied by a mischievous score of drums. Guitars are minimal on this song, if only there to provide atmosphere or rhythm to this spirited seasonal chant, while the chorus showcases savory background vocals which bound in and out on only the right words. On the bridge, Kerman juxtaposes a spoken word section of R&B saunter with a climactic tone, bringing the song back to speed. “And if we have to play one card/Say we both blacked out/And my friends seem to trust this/They believe this silly kind of cop out,” he sings, leading the song back into mishaps of “making out with old friends”.

“Never Thought That This Would Happen” is Arkells “rounding first and sliding into second”, re-emerging wonderfully from their brief silence since Michigan Left. This a great new tune from one of Canada’s finest indie acts, and they’re not to be missed.

Grade: A


Be sure to look out for Arkells’ TBA third release sometime this year, along with their website here.