Though he prefers to remain anonymous, there’s something very familiar about the music on Blackpaw Society’s new album, People Doesn’t Care / 1955. The Toronto-based, “one-dog band” hopped into a musical wayback machine and set the controls for the 50s and 60s. He’s unearthed “dead things and buried ideas” from that bygone era and brought them forward to 2015, using modern techniques and technologies to imagine what these fossils may have sounded like if they originated in the present.
Maybe it’s due to its creator’s anonymity, or the occasional cheeky song title, but I’ve always felt an undercurrent to Blackpaw Society’s music, like a knowing wink or sly smile that makes you wonder whether there’s a hidden joke or sarcasm that you’re missing. It took playing People Doesn’t Care / 1955 through a couple of times to figure out that feeling of missing something is because the concept of the record works so impressively well, it feels like it was all too easy.
Pop this well-perfected, this finely tuned can only come from study and practice, though. “Strange/Fiktionkicks” is in a musical class all itself. “List of the Proper Names of Stars” may be of throw-away length, but there’s more going on in these 52 seconds than most commercial radio plays in 52 hours. Catchy as all get out, People Doesn’t Care / 1955 may clock in under 30 minutes, but like the classic pop moments of the past these 11 songs reference, you don’t need a lot of time to leave your mark.
So the only joke about Blackpaw Society and People Doesn’t Care / 1955 is on anyone who thinks independent, self-made music lacks artistic credibility and musicianship without a label endorsement. Maybe having two back-to-back QBiM endorsed DiSCs of the WEEK isn’t the kind of clout that will get Blackpaw Society wide-spread recognition, but in my world, this “one-dog band” is the cat’s meow.
People Doesn’t Care / 1955 is released June 15, 2015.Tags: Blackpaw Society