As modern rock bands slowly edge further and further into the realm of mainstream music and the typical pop-esque radio fare over the course of their careers, the bands tend to adapt and develop more complex music with more instruments, synthesized sounds and orchestral backdrops. This isn’t the case with Winnipeg singer and songwriter Greg MacPherson, whose ninth album Fireball was released last month. MacPherson seems to keep toning it back and streamlining his style of rock ’n’ roll down to the basics.
MacPherson’s music is simple: usually just a set of drums, an electric guitar and MacPherson’s vocals, which sound a little like Gordon Downie from Tragically Hip. His albums are a callback to the older years of rock ’n’ roll with a heavy emphasis on just the drums and guitar.
Throughout his latest album the rock influences from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s are easy to pick up even though he does infuse his songs with a little modern indie rock, even sounding a little punk rock or country from time to time.
From the first track on the album, “1995,” it sounds like Fireball is going to be a collection of hard-hitting rock songs from the ’90s. It’s a refreshing change from the folk-rock inspired music overplayed on the radio today. It is just too bad MacPherson doesn’t keep it up throughout the rest of the album.
The album’s title track doesn’t hold the momentum and neither does the next song, “Motel Hotel.” The tracks are more subdued and less interesting as a result. Throughout the remainder of the album, the music gets a little lost, caught up in a little post rock in “Sand Hand” and a little country in “Force Field.” MacPherson’s straight-forward rock is clear at the beginning and at the end, but it gets a little murky in the middle.