Over the course of the last 23 years, few bands have seemingly conquered as much territory as Toronto group The Sadies. The ultimate collection of musical chameleons, the group has collaborated with everyone from Moncton artist Rick White and Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor to Neil Young and Tragically Hip vocalist Gord Downie, a true testament to their impressive versatility. Through it all, however, the group has created an atypically strong, eclectic catalogue of music on its own, a fact reinforced by their latest studio offering, Northern Passages.
Opening with “Riverview Fog,” a wistfully optimistic ode to their longtime friend and collaborator White, the group then kicks into third gear for the rambunctious “Another Season Again” and “There Are No Words,” before Kurt Vile guides “It’s Easy (Like Walking)” into psych-country territory with which fans of the band are intimately familiar. The spirit of traditional country adorns “God Bless The Infidels” while on “The Good Years,” the band recalls some of their earlier, dustier works, but still manage to lend a fresh outlook to the song.
The fact is, however, any attempt to put labels or narrow down The Sadies’ sound to one specific genre do not do the band justice. Aside from seeing them in concert, the best way to fully appreciate The Sadies is to pick yourself up a copy of Northern Passages.