Ontario’s own Reg Vermue, aka Gentleman Reg, returned to the music scene this year with the gradual release of his fifth studio album, Leisure Life
. Taking a cue from electro-pop princess Robyn, Vermue has been releasing LL
in a series of three EPs over the course of 2012. Much in the same vein as 2010’s Body Talk
series by the Scandinavian songstress, select songs from each of Gentleman Reg’s three EPs ended up on a full-length version, which is now available wherever you buy music.
With nearly three years between albums, a change of labels (he’s no longer with Arts and Crafts) and a side-project band (and Fab
favourite) called Light Fires
, a certain amount of growth would be expected from any musician. However, with LL
Vermue delivers a shocking genre flip, transitioning from a quieter folk sound to electronic synth-pop. Album opener “Waiting Around for Gold” sets a lively and animated tone that carries through most other tracks.
Intense rock-riff intros can be found throughout. "Too Drunk,” “Driving the Truth” and “I Could Be What You Wanted” trick listeners into thinking the old Vermue is back before colliding with an orgy of swirling synths and buoyant baselines. These sounds are balanced by the refreshing ballad breaks found in “Solo Shows" and “Hit the Heart” before shifting back to the album's synth-y nature. The catchy hooks and funky beats of lovesongs “Make it Better” and album single “I’m a Little Bit Older Than You” bridge on commercial, with a sound that could be heard on any top 40 station in Canada. The album finishes on a high note with the slightly folksier “Songs I Already Sang,” a funny title considering it sounds like a throwback to the old Gentleman Reg.
is an album that transcends, if not breaks, musical genres. The one constant is the sweetly hollowed, slightly haunting voice of Vermue himself. Aside from a few points where his female backup singer is at risk of upstaging his vocals, Gentleman Reg’s whisper-like singing does a great job of standing out against his embellished band.
With the assistance of the album’s producer, Chris Stringer, LL
brilliantly walks the line between commercial and indie, with many not-so-typical results. A powerful pop album. —Chris Howson
Join Reg and a slew of other talent at his album release party Sun, Dec 2 at the Gladstone, 1214 Queen St W.
Doors at 8pm, show at 9pm. $10.
Facebook event page