East Van Special Blend, a compilation CD released by the Commercial Drive Coffee Company in association with Northern Electric, is an assortment of songs that emulate the feeling of being engulfed in any of the myriad cafes in this city. With songs performed by the likes of Rodney DeCroo, Butch Murphy, Pointed Sticks and many others, there is no denying that the listener’s senses will be stung by their familiar scent. The album’s aromas are deeply related to folk-country blues, roots, and hard-nose rock and roll. Someone lusting for locally roasted flavour will be irresistibly compelled by the 11 previously unreleased tracks that provide spice and excitement. Certain memorable tracks like Spoon River’s “Slippery Footed Man” and Antonio’s “La Mejor Cosa Hoy” provide jittery bliss; reminding one of that euphoric moment when caffeine illuminates your system. As a compilation, East Van Special Blend can be a bit overwhelming, similar to the decisive moment when we’re caught deliberating over one out of 25 tea options. After hearing the album’s entirety, the listener will likely decide upon a few favourites and continually resort to these on subsequent trips. East Van Special Blend is replete with exceptional tracks, but the only way you’ll find your perfect roast will be by sampling them all.
By Curts Aucoin