In early 2014, I had the pleasure of interviewing the members of Mississauga Indie rock four-piece Aukland and filming a band practice in the basement of one of their parents’ house.
Through my conversations with each member, I saw a group of enthusiastic individuals who had grown tired of the constantly rotating carousel of band names, members, and basement gigs that make up the DNA of many inexperienced bands. They believed that after several years of working out the kinks, they had a direction to go in and the future was bright.
A year and change later, Aukland have released an EP, had their music featured on Hockey Night In Canada, and now it’s all culminated in a full-length debut titled Rookie.
On the surface, Rookie is a fresh batch of spirited, riff-heavy indie rock. The hooks are appealing, and the bouncy pacing never loses momentum. Sonically speaking, a good place to start is the production help from seasoned veterans. Engineer/mixer Darren Magierowski (Alexisonfire, Cancer Bats) brings a balanced sound to the guitar, bass and drum tracks, and Joãn Carvalho (Alt-J, Fun) takes an uncompromising approach to the album mastering. In essence, nothing is overthought or gratuitous.
The retrospective lyrics of vocalist/guitarist Sean Sroka are an ode to suburban youth, exhibiting the wide-eyed confidence of late-teenage/early 20-somethings where the seemingly-worst problems in life can be righted with a dose of friends, parties and alcohol (“Liver & Lungs” “Doing it Right” “Stupid Fun”) with maybe a touch of melancholy every now and then (“Youngest” “Worry Some”).
The strongest tracks on Rookie are the ones where the guitars are utilized to pack a punch. The walls of sound on lead single “Doing it Right” and album closer “Curtains & Light” are the driving force behind the album.
As a whole, Rookie is a confident effort by a band that continues to evolve within their boundaries. But that’s OK. The dynamic chemistry of the group is thriving, and its proudly displayed on the record.
As I listened to the anthem of youthful naivety “Youngest”, I was brought back to that moment at the basement practice, when the band was working on a rough cut of the song. It may sound cliché, but the progression of the band over the last year has them in a position to make waves in the soundscape of Canadian Indie.
With Rookie, Aukland is Doing It Right in every sense of the word.
Chris Dowbiggin is a graduate of broadcast journalism at Sheridan College. Besides Ultimate Frisbee, his true passions lie in his musings on music and pop culture. You can follow him on twitter @ChristopherPJD
Be sure to catch Aukland on tour this summer with Honest Heart Collective.
06/18 – Ottawa, On – Zaphods
06/19 – Montreal, QC – L’Alize
06/20 – Kingston, ON – The Grad Club
06/21 – Milton, ON – Private Acoustic Show
06/23 – Oshawa, ON – The Moustache Club
06/25 – Guelph, ON – DSTRCT
06/26 – Toronto, ON, The Rivoli
06/27 – Mississauga, ON, The Masonic Lodge
06/28 – Hamilton, ON – Baltimore House
07/01 – Niagara Falls, ON – The Old Crow
07/02 – TBA
07/03 – Thunder Bay, ON – Black Pirates Club
07/04 – TBA