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A mainstay of the Canadian rock scene, singer/songwriter/guitarist Ian Blurton led Tornonto’s beloved and influential postpunk/alt.rock act Change of Heart, before shifting to more straightforward hard rock with C’Mon and producing a shitload of his fellow countrymen (Tricky Woo, Elliott Brood, Cauldron, the Weakerthans) along the way. For Second Skin, he brings in drummer Glenn Milchem from Blue Rodeo, bassist Anna Ruddick from City and Colour, and guitarist Aaron Goldstein from Huron to make up Future Now, a band originally formed to tour Blurton’s first solo album and now a combo in its own right. And a powerful one it is, too, mining hard rocking veins leading to Detroit, Birmingham, London and Sweden, with crunching riffs, forceful rhythms and plenty of harmony guitars and vocals. The title track extends its length and range, its melody, atmosphere and attack sounding like a cosmic Hellacopters, while “Orchestrated Illusions” blends close harmonies, menacing choogle and a burly but catchy melody for a distinctive entity all its own. “Beyond Beholds the Moon” adds a proto-prog psychedelic flavor, its clashing riffs and widescreen pound again pushing the band onto its own territory. Fist-pumping blazers “The Power of No,” “Like a Ghost” and the perfectly titled “Denim On Denim” simply bristle with amplified excitement, the sound of a veteran rocker still able to tap into the fire. Blurton seems to dig rawk ‘n’ roll in all its forms, filtering them through his own vision and making Second Skin into a hard rock record that doesn’t need denim jackets and banging heads to appreciate.
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