-David Newberry, BA, MA, Musician, Sibling
You might call it “Dusty Springfield fronts Metric,” or maybe “Patti Smith meets Peggy Lee”, but you’d be missing something. In addition to all of that, Sue Newberry & The Law offer up a genre-defining collection of tunes on their debut EP SHINE SHINE SHINE SHINE that sets a new high-bar for their peers in the world of contemporary Canadian indie-pop.
From the moment you press play, it is clear that this band has listened to a lot of music, creating a work that is a testament to the value of artistic hybridity. Off the top, a lone banjo is quickly joined by an appropriately haunting synthesizer in the track "Gold", setting the tone for a sonic experience that lets everything find its natural place in the scheme of the album.
Songs like Pavlov and The Ledge offer a one-two punch of flawless production and lyrical prowess. Their irresistibly danceable groove positions the singer’s own fear of dreaming-too-big against a landscape of modern human excess, bringing the audience to their feet while they’re forced to contemplate the importance of honesty.
Over and over, Newberry’s lyrics demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the value of struggle, the dangers and rewards of pursuing your dreams, and of the conflicting desire to stay put or to flee. As a writer, Sue seems easily able to offer the listener parallels between deeply personal stories and relevant geopolitical issues in a way that keeps pace with the best poets of her era.
The balance between old and new on this offering is navigated meticulously by producer Bret Higgins, a longtime member of celebrated Canadian troubadours Great Lake Swimmers. In addition to his work with that band, Higgins has amassed years of expertise playing alongside the likes of Basia Bulat and Serena Ryder, and he applies his substantial artistic skill-set here, helping Newberry's raw tunes present themselves with the softened edge of musical experience.
If there is a unifying force across SHINE SHINE SHINE SHINE, it is the audible work ethic. Sue Newberry has assembled a batch of songs that have surely been examined with a fine tooth comb, but the real glory of the tunes has obviously been forged in the fires of the band’s force-of-nature live shows. Over the past several years, The Law have fortified their already busy touring schedule with multiple showcase performances at North By Northeast, Indie Week Canada, International Pop Overthrow, Pitter Patter Music Festival, British Columbia's ArtsWells, and more.
In a world of shallow, hook-centric ear candy, Newberry and her band prove that catchy pop and danceability can go hand in hand with lyrical depth, complexity of melody, and strong musicianship. Their long awaited EP is sure to cement their position as one of Canada’s most powerful and insightful acts.
THE LAW IS:
Mim Adams - keys & vox
Matt Longo - bass & vox
Dan Nicks - synth & vox
Colin Lanois Spencer W - guitar
Michael Laing - percussion
"...She's breaking ground in the music scene and its boring old doldrums. Newberry's going to wake everyone up." (Eastern Ontario EMC - July 2011)