Release Date: February 2007
Label: True North Canada
In the words of Something Corporate, I’m a baby of the ?80s; and since I really dislike that band, It’s pretty lucky to have found me quoting one of its lines. The point is, I’m not able to remember Canadian ?80s music as well as some others out there, which makes listening to Rough Trade a unique experience for me. And hell, I liked it.
First, the album reminded me of the biggest tie I have to the ?80s (as every other ?90s teen can claim) in The Wedding Singer. Was this band on the movie’s soundtrack, I wondered? Nah, It’s just freakishly similar in that the movie epitomized that certain ?80s pop sound. Rough Trade first released Weapons in 1983, so you see my confusion.
Aside from a fake sense of nostalgia, I doubted whether the remastered Weapons had anything to offer me; I was shocked, then, to hear the tracks take on a new-wave sound all their own in a deviation from the telltale resonance of radio in my very early youth (one year prior to my birth, in fact). At times the vocalist sounds like She’s in the spotlight during a momentous piece in a musical; at others, the band members seem to have gotten lost inside their own pieces of the music while the track skips along haphazardly.
I must recommend ?Paisley Generation,? with my humble blessings, to all who are interested. It is a pleasant paradox that in the invocation of the ?80s that is Weapons remastered we also hear a twice-done invocation of the ?60s. The chords seem to slide off their rigid fixtures for a few minutes as the vocals pay tribute, quite literally, to Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the Velvet Underground, the Doors, and many more great artists of the time. There’s nothing like hearing a tribute to the foundational work of so many talented bands and musicians to make you appreciate a band like Rough Trade all the more.
I was skeptical of the re-release of an album like this, but I’ve got to say I’m happy to have heard it and this might have been the only way that was possible. I admit I don’t go digging around in the ?80s section for much of anything unless I’ve got something specific and non-pop on my mind. My loss, really. don’t let it be yours. If nothing else, think of Rough Trade as that uniquely Canadian contribution to ?80s pop and new wave. It’s educational, silly–but It’s also a fun listen.