Story and photos by Sara Kuefler
You know you are in for an enjoyable listening experience when you put on an album and the first song is a romantically toned ode to a motorhome, in which the line “you’re my little death machine” is featured, as in “Lady Pistol.” Not a lyric that the mothers of the band members were particular fans of.
Listening to Please Hold, the first full length album by Calgary rock trio The Corey Hotline, you get the impression that Mason Jenkins (vocals, guitar), Brent Rossall (bass), and Jordan Phillips (drums) are not afraid of a little risk taking in life or in love. In fact, the first single off the album, “Door Girl,” is based on an attempt on Jenkins’ part to woo a door girl at a bar after a show, while wearing a very shiny outfit. It may not have worked out quite as planned but now they are good friends so risk rewarded.
The Corey Hotline is a band with a sense of humour, but don’t take them lightly. There are some emotionally loaded lyrics on Please Hold. For instance, on “Tomboy Forever,” a song inspired by Jenkins’ experience as a transgender individual, Jenkins sings, “you’ve heard it all, have you heard that you’re fine, that who you are can’t be assigned.” Catchy yes, but the lyrics on this album are also often as deep as the ocean. “Crowsnest Pass” features geographic imagery that is metaphorically linked to two halves of a serious long-term relationship that had ended, with one half moving to BC. Beautifully and succinctly described by Jenkins, “Prairies. Mine. Ocean. Hers” about the division. And if the album starts strong with “Lady Pistol,” wait until you hear the finish. The last track, “Threads,” has a full-body effect. You know those songs that get electricity running through your limbs, just under the skin, causing all your hair to stand on end, while you simultaneously feel your heart expanding and melting into the room – yeah, that.
Please Hold might actually strike the perfect balance between fun and gravity. You have got little details, like the interludes of phones dialing, voice mail, and dial tones sprinkled throughout, in keeping with the theme of the band’s namesake. The whole album is loaded with cheekiness, many hooks, melodic vocals, all set to the retro/pop punk/rock fusion sound. And then you also have beautiful instrumental surges and poignant moments in love adventures and life lessons. So, pick up the album. Who knows, it could just end up being the soundtrack to your own journeys in life or romance…
“Door Girl” and “Red Ryder BB Gun” are currently out as singles. Check them out on all streaming services now. The full album will be available for your listening pleasure on July 7, accompanied by an album release at The Palomino with the Ashley Hundred, Emily Ripley and Deep Covers.