Jay Pollock does not try to sing all the right words and play all the right notes. Using the sour notes between, and warped, off-centre words is his preferred way of telling a story. Fronting a trio, Pollock sings the listener through a baritone-delivered lyrical back alley of metaphors to his soundtrack of dark, guitar-bending melodies that channel the old world.
Complimenting wordsmithed lyrics, the band joins in dramatic instrumental interludes of borderline spazmic solos over shades of Tom Waits – (Rain Dogs/Swordfishtrombones era), to Wilco, to M. Ward. As the son of a world champion Scottish bagpiper, he went a different route by taking up the sitar from India, and guitar. This instrumental pairing in the beginning of his writing years, gave him a natural freedom to twist melodies and chords outside of his geographical, western folk/rock roots.
A follow-up to his primarily-acoustic debut album, “Creepy Dinner Music” Pollock’s July 10 2014 release, “Sunflower” showcases a reinvention of his now electrically-charged band with more punch and grit. Perfect for the task of embellishing an off-the-wall sound, was drummer Lowell Whitty (Heavyweights Brass Band), bringing the feel of Levon Helm and when required, the untethered style of The Muppets’ Animal. Adding Ben Huband on bass was no accident. The band needed a legally-blind, nude-model, bass player who walks 10 miles a day and obsessively memorizes celebrity death anniversaries. He was a shoe-in.
The band’s solidified live performance owes much credit to 10 months of weekly residency gigs at The Cameron House on Queen Street in Toronto.
“Sunflower” is a self-produced 11-song LP that was engineered by Grammy nominee Jeremy Darby (2013 Album of the Year), Thomas McKay (Producer Joydrop), and mixed by Andre Wahl (Producer Hawksley Workman, Engineer Luke Doucet).