by Cameron Gordon | originally published at SoulShine
From the opening chords of “The Residence of Ben”, Toronto’s Showroom raises the bar for what it means to be an indie band in Toronto circa 2004. Sure, you can talk all you wait about home studios and DAT and whatever the hell else is going on nowadays. The fact remains that there’s no bloody way that a fledgling act like Showroom should be able to bang their collective heads together and come up with a product as polished as their debut EP, Still Escalator. Seven songs of unadulterated UK-infused gleem pop fill this album and what a shimmering joyride it turns out to be! Singer Ben Hutchinson’s vocals tear out of the speakers with a degree of urgency that is seldom heard in these parts. He’s out to prove that modern life is rubbish through such high-brow pisstakes as “The Noble Life” and the scathing “It All Makes Sense Until You Come” but through it all, he never loses control of his caterwaul—this is as much a triumph of self-control as anything else. Tempering Hutchinson’s cry is guitarist Rory Lindsay, who contributes layer upon layer of paranoid jangle that always manage to stay on the right side of tuneful. Bassist Tristan Samuk and Tyler Dokis then anchor the sound with their strong musicianship and an uncanny ability to withstand in the mouth of madness. Still Escalator could be one of the most important indie releases to come out of this city this year. Why not hitch a ride while there’s still room on this bandwagon.