Ottawa’s neo-soul six-piece, Slack Bridges, just dropped a video for their single “In the Drought” off their very well received debut album Joy of Joys.
The video perfectly captures the realities of living in one of the world’s coldest capitals. The band, all except lead singer Matt Gilmour, can be seen huddled together indoors (in the wonderful speakeasy at Union Local 613) playing games and having a few drinks to escape the frigid weather outside. It all starts out fun while the band plays poker, but gets a little more heated when they shift their attention to Sorry. I love that they also find time for some Dungeon and Dragons.
Meanwhile Matt can be seen walking around town in the cold singing to the camera as he considers the difficult decision to cut ties with those who don’t have his best interests at heart. As Matt works his way through various neighbourhoods in the snow-covered city, one of my favourite stops is watching him sing while walking across the Hammer St. pedestrian bridge over the Queensway. The video finally culminates with Matt joining the rest of his bandmates in the speakeasy to much rejoicing.
The video was shot by local cameraman and director extraordinaire, Luca Fiore, who has previously worked with Juno award winners and other local greats like The Love Machine and The White Wires.
Check out the video below and be sure to catch Slack Bridges in April when they take to the stage at the second annual Bangers and Mash soul music festival in Ottawa.
The band may only be a couple years old, but Slack Bridges already feels like a well-seasoned veteran of the music scene here in Ottawa. Even though the band is fresh off the release of its debut full-length Joy of Joys, it has already sent shock waves throughout the capital.
This is what happens when musical masterminds from all corners of Ottawa’s music community come together to present something altogether original, breaking new ground by fusing hip hop, soul, and jazz fusion influences into tracks that burst at the seams with ear-pleasing tones. After only a few shows and the release of their first EP in 2016, Slack Bridges quickly caught the year of large-scale festival organizers as they got included on lineups at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, House of PainT, Ottawa Race Weekend. They also were the main attraction at last year’s independent festival called Bangers & Mash, a soul-focused weekend-long party co-organized by band member Garett Bass himself.
Slack Bridges performed at this year’s House of PainT Urban Art Fest this past August. Photo by Kelly Morrissey.
Joy of Joys is indeed a full album. It is a front-to-back trip that explores different soundscapes and textures, pleasing listeners with dance-inducing bangers like “In The Drought” as well as teasing us with down-tempo ballads such as “Smile.” Guitarist Chris Elms puts his dexterous guitar work on full display throughout the ten-track journey that is Joy of Joys, from providing grimy and emotive riffs that explode off the record in “Jungle” to sultry tones that seduce the listener deeper into tracks like “Apologies.”
Vocalist Matt Gilmour’s infectious deep vocal prowess is an undeniable x-factor in this band, and without detracting from the group’s talents, his voice and persona are front and centre on the record and the stage. You wouldn’t first think of him as a former member of bands in Ottawa’s punk and hardcore scenes, but his influences are many. His appreciation for R&B and hip hop rhythm come across immediately, and his unique vocal tones and style lend perfectly to the rest of the band’s impressive instrumental chemistry. Not to mention his subtle moves on stage give crowds even more to scream for (see video below—just wait for it).
All in all, Joy of Joys is the record Ottawa needs, wants, and will cherish. The band spent a lot of time and energy into crafting their identity, sound, and style—and it shows. It really feels as though they took a “why stop here?” approach to this record, and the seamless inclusion of brass parts from local visionaries Ed Lister and Julian Selody exemplifies the level of musicianship this band is operating at. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Be sure to pick up Joy of Joys on vinyl at local record shops around town now, which they recently released on November 11th at a sold-out show at The Rainbow. It is also available digitally here.
Watch their Shot in the Dark performance and stream Joy of Joys below.