ALL THE WHILE, SELF-RELEASED
All the While is gloriously, unashamedly uncool. Half of Calgary’s Emblematics are dentists and fathers — their press materials picture them in sensible mid-price suits, sat at a dining table in a suburban home. It’s like they set out to be the least rock ’n’ roll band in the entire world and succeeded magnificently. I’m pretty sure G. G. Allin never carved anything about work-life balance into his chest.
The whole record was recorded by the band themselves in less than 24 hours but shows surprising polish. They have been together for ten years now after forming as a duo at university. Their attempted combination of the approachability of working-class heroes like The Replacements and the DIY ideals of Fugazi is… totally mediocre. The songs on All the While are standard-issue VH1 dad rock; none have enough bite to soundtrack the closing moments of Grey’s Anatomy.
This is a shame, because I retain a romantic attachment to the idea that ordinary people should make music, and I want to hear from dentists and claims adjusters much more than pretty twenty-somethings who breathe Instagram and have quotation marks around their lives. Becoming a father should give an artist enough experience of terror and elation to write a dozen albums. Emblematics, you have got everything you need and now it’s up to you to turn that into art.
By Gareth Watkins