Kingston, Ontario has, over the past few decades, become somewhat of a rock incubator. A slew of Canadian rock talent has come out of the city: Bryan Adams, The Mahones, and let’s not forget a little rock band called The Tragically Hip. But among them is a group of a different breed; the black sheep of Kingston’s music scene and one of the few that was able to bring a truly heavy and assertive sound to the mainstream. With their 9th album (and first with Cadence Records), the Headstones have gradually solidified themselves as a permanent presence in the Canadian rock music landscape.
The album has no bullshit. By that I mean, Hugh Dillon’s writing has no fluff. There’s no filler. It’s direct and to the point. When you’ve accomplished as much in a life as he has, you don’t have time for bullshit. He delivers a clear and concise message, hitting topics ranging from his battles against addiction to his home of Kingston. In the song “Kingston”, Hugh sings, “Gord Downie’s validation, I needed every line.” Hugh Dillon’s been known to be less than easy to get along with, but there’s something humbling about knowing that his respect for music isn’t just Canadian, it’s in Kingston.
“Little Army” demonstrates the band’s versatility. They combine hard rock, punk and blues into a sound that can only be accompanied by Hugh Dillon’s aggressive and unhesitating voice. Hugh’s honest and raw songwriting lends itself well to slower songs like “The View Here”, and “Sunlight Kills The Stars”, which begs for a 10-minute guitar solo.
So, are we ready for The Tragically Hip to pass the symbolic torch of Canadiana to the Headstones?
No. The album is, all things considered, a phenomenal homecoming for the band, but it won’t be remembered as a beacon of rock music. But that doesn’t really matter – The Headstones were never meant to take a torch. As they say in their first single, “The devil’s on fire, and he’s floating down the river.” The headstones light their own fire and continue to light the way for the next generations of Canadian musicians that aren’t afraid to hold back and know when it’s time to cut the bullshit.
Little Army Track Listing:
01. Devil’s On Fire
03. Little Army
04. Sunlight Kills The Stars
05. For Your Consideration
06. Dead To Me
07. Captain Of The Shit Out Of Luck
08. The View Here
10. Los Angeles
11. Done The Math
12. Don’t Think At All
Run Time: 38:40
Release Date: June 2, 2017
Check out the video for the song “Devil’s On Fire”