JJ and the Pillars - Wolves
Released August 6, 2014
By Lane Levesque
Originating from Peterborough, Ontario (currently in Toronto), JJ & the Pillars is a three piece folk rock band formed in 2013. They’ve achieved success early on, playing at The Horseshoe Tavern and headlining at The Opera house, as well as winning The Edge Next Big Thing out of almost 700 Canadian bands. This band seems to be quickly rising to the top, nabbing sweet gigs and opportunities left, right, and center.
Despite their near-immediate success, I can’t help but feel they don’t do much to create an identity. JJ & the Pillars sounds and feels somewhat generic. From the strained voices to the recycled tunes that span certain tracks, you’ll notice some very prominent similarities between Wolves and any other popular radio album. Regardless, there is a reason people still enjoy those songs from so long ago. It’s good, upbeat music and fun to listen to.
That being said, it’s easy to see that these musicians are truly talented. The finger picking from lead singer/guitarist JJ Thomson in Slip Away blew me away from the very beginning, and while they’re not exactly in the spotlight - Stefan Hegerat and Brett Wright do a great job of supporting JJ with the drums and the bass, respectively. It’s no wonder their first single The Wolves, has risen high on 102.1 The Edge’s Top 30 by popular demand.
One of the most interesting parts of this album is the final track, Come with Me. During this song, the band ditches nearly all of their folk attitude and focuses solely on the rock. This is easily my favorite part of the album and it’s unfortunate that it only clocks in at 1 minute and 58 seconds. Short but sweet, the band really experimented with this one and it turned out great. If future albums focused more on this unique, raw feel, you definitely wouldn't see me complaining.
Overall, this is a great album from yet another great band, but they have yet to find their real, unique sound. This is a group I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on.