CD Review: Inoke Errati “Make-Outs & Movie Stars” EP

Posted: March 9, 2011 by Windsor Zene in CDs, Reviews
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On Sunday February 20th, local powerpop darlings Inoke Errati released their long overdue follow up to 2006’s The Wink and The Gun, a 5-song EP entitled Make-Outs and Movie Stars. In what started as a sold out show at The Loop (based on advance ticket sales) quickly turned into an intimate showcase in one of Windsor’s largest and good vibe venues. Thanks to an unexpected snow storm that set records for snowfall, the 400+ who purchased tickets became just over 200 warm bodies, all of whom braved the elements to attend a rock and roll event that also featured openers Beijing Bike Club, Shortcut To Last (who almost stole the show with a great performance and stage presence) and The Greatest Invention.

After three warm-up acts, Inoke Errati finally hit the stage for a slightly shortened set highlighting all the tracks off the new EP plus some choice nuggets from The Wink and The Gun, including their viral hit “Jennifer”. Jake and the boys were in fine form, playing to a crowd hungering for a rock and roll show following the dreariness of the days meteorological events. Inoke Errati are popsmiths, pure and simple. They write catchy bounce-a-long summer anthems (even in a Canadian winter) that all sound like songs destined for a TV show or film soundtrack. Not because they’re throwaways, but because they have the energy to vitalize a scene or carry a soundtrack album.

The EP itself is a nice capsule to let people know where Inoke Errati have come since The Wink and The Gun several years ago. They’ve matured slightly (although if you’ve ever gone out drinking with Jake, you may argue that), with a more polished sound, but the energy and passion are still evident on each track. They’re still having fun making music and it shows, never sounding like they’re simply content riding an old horse.

They manage to ride a narrow line between the pop stylings of bands like The Lemonheads with more mainstream powerpop like Fountains of Wayne. The lead off track, “Lights Out”, is a perfect opening track with its infectious hook “Lights out/turn up the radio/I can’t sleep with all these thoughts about you”. It’s a short intro for those who aren’t familiar with previous Inoke Errati recordings or a welcome back hug for those who do.

“Chloe”, the band’s second album, almost sounds like an unofficial sequel to their biggest hit, “Jennifer”. The opening chug of the guitar hints at it but then it takes a slight twist, but lyrically it almost sounds like the same protagonist from the “Jennifer” song telling a new girl not to pursue him (perhaps because he’s hung up on a certain girl whose name starts with J).

“Make-Outs and Movie Stars”, the EP’s title track, almost sounds like a Gin Blossoms song if they’d had more balls. The guitars have a beautiful chunk about them, a roughness that alludes a devilish demeanor underneath that O.C. smile.

“Not in California” is Jake at his most Evan Dando. This sounds like a song The Lemonheads would have released had they continued to pursue the poppier side of their songwriting. Big guitars and big vocals help drive this song to be the beach party hit of the summer.

The closer “How Do You Do It?” again has that Gin Blossoms feel. In fact, if you’d told me it was a new song by them without me knowing it was Inoke Errati, I’d have believed you, if not for the fact that the guitars have more attitude than the Gin Blossom’s entire catalogue had previously shown.

Inoke Errati are the undoubted master of the radio pop song. Their songs are catchy and infectious ear candy that for approximately three and half minutes each, take over your brain cortex and make you bounce. There are no hidden meanings, no songs of protest or inner reflection. Their songs never get vulgar nor get experimental for the sake of being “indie”. Instead they rely on a formula that’s helped rock and roll be the soundtrack for teenagers in love, lust and heartache since the 1950’s. For those who hang out in the bedrooms waiting for new Radiohead albums or comb record stores for Animal Collective bootlegs, I will warn you that these guys simply aren’t for you. Inoke Errati are more in the 89X vein than CJAM, more inclined to play a rock concert in the middle of Ouellette Avenue that a house party on Drouillard Rd. They are constantly on the look out for a good party to soundtrack and they have no problem starting that party if they can’t find one.

Here’s a clip from local film maker Gavin Michael Booth (from his web series How Many Days?) covering the EP release party:

You can next catch Inoke Errati this Friday March 11th at The Blind Dog (671 Ouellette Ave.), in support of Toronto’s Low Level Flight (featuring Ryan Malcolm from Canadian Idol), as well as opening acts The Years, Intra Meridian and The Main Squeeze. Doors at 9:45pm, 19+ show.

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