Royal Tusk - Mountain EP 
Royal Tusk - Mountain EP

No time for preamble, this is big stuff. Canadian boys Royal Tusk (great name, by the way) write huge, chunky pop tunes with hooks only eclipsed by the size of their facial hair so I need to tell you all about! 'Shadow Of Love' opens the EP and, at various points, features the swagger of the Killers, the sex appeal of Kings Of Leon, the riffs of Arctic Monkeys and the effortless cool of a Dave Grohl or Josh Homme. As the keys scatter through the air and the drums pound, the guitars lurk in the corner only to come flying out to take centre stage in a black leather suit and sunglasses. There is a particularly west-coast US feel to 'Engine' as the polished melodies provide the perfect backdrop to the lung bustingly impassioned vocals. 'Smoke Rings' starts off feeling like Dutch Uncles before going in to latter day Incubus territory with spiraling guitars, gorgeous keys and a variety of time signatures.

This is a debut EP from this five piece and their previous stints in other bands have clearly honed their musical skills as this all sounds remarkably polished and confident. The second half of the EP gets underway with 'The Letter', a tune that would be equally at home in smoky 50s saloon bar or a dusk slot on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury as it bounces along with piano stabs interplaying beautifully with the thumping drums. There is a dangerous dalliance with Maroon 5 or Bruno Mars-esque pop-rock on 'Years Ago' but closing track 'Jesus Saves' brings back a certain brooding sense of cool that, along with the Franz Ferdinand guitars, seals the deal for me. Royal Tusk have a big future if they keep producing tunes like these but I get the feeling they'll be on to another new project before too long and who am I to stand in their way? Nobody, that's who.

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Live Dates:

23rd June - The Towerhouse, Sudbury
25th June - Crocks, Thunder Bay
27th June - The Artful Dodger, Regina

28th June - Vangelis Tavern, Saskatoon