Sam Roberts "Lo-Fantasy"

Canadian rockers add a new layer of sheen to it's melodic signature rock.

The Sam Roberts Band is lauded as a great arena rock band in their native Canada, but on their latest release the band shoots for something more. Teaming up with producer Martin Glover, also known as Youth, and mixer Eddie Banda (Tears For Fear’s “Songs From the Big Chair”) Roberts and his cohorts delve into dance grooves, synthesized accompaniment, and more pronounced band cohesiveness. Roberts continues to be the core around which the band rotates; his vocals, mostly solo, anchor songs.

Glover, who was also a member of the band Killing Joke, is known for his oversight of the lush electronic production of Beth Orton and The Verve. Here he insinuates these elements into Roberts’ energetic rock melodies. “Shapeshifters” and “The Hands of Love” are reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s blending of dance beats with rock. Still other songs retain the driving rock and roll force of Roberts’ earlier work, including the lead single “We’re All In This Together” and “Angola.” “Human Heat” is an example of the band at its best with crescendo-building guitar riffs. This is the second album since the band's title change from Sam Roberts to Sam Roberts Band. The guys re-affirm that aspect of the music with it's musical syncronicity. This is a band that is quite comfortable playing as a unit highlighted by it's tight interwoven arrangements.

Lyrically Roberts continues to stress over societies rigors and offers critiques of modern living. But the story with album is the glossy production that should propel audiences toward the dance floor. And you don’t even have to wait for the remixes as eight are offered on a second disc.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)