This Canadian alt-rock powerhouse never got the exposure they deserved. Twenty-seven years ago they didn’t so much explode onto the scene as they sort of fizzled into the discount bin of the future when their debut release, Neopolitan, hit shelves on September 10 1991.
They had a great sound from the get-go, but nothing particular you could pin down as their sound. “No Warning” sounded like pre-Green R.E.M. “King Of The Heap” opens the album with Costello-like phrases to the effect of “When something’s big and beautiful, give it time / I’ll make it small and dirty just to make it mine.”
That’s not to say that they’re a derivative act. Though they wear certain influences on their sleeves, they definitely make the sounds work for the material they’ve written here, and it’s a strong debut. Thought it’s not an album that frequently rotates to the top of my rotation, I will often find myself singing the lyrics to “Domesticated Blind” or “Wendy Under The Stars.” I ended up a longtime fan and ended up buying all of their albums over time. And revisiting this record on its twenty-seventh birthday, I’m surprised how little it sounds like a product of the early 90s.
And maybe there lies the answer to why they didn’t get the exposure they deserved. They were good – even excellent at times – but while they definitely sound like some of the bands they grew up listening to, they didn’t necessarily sound like the voice of a new decade. In the end, I think this gives the music more staying power but at the time it didn’t give them marketing power.