Published May 29, 2020Sleepless Nights' star burned bright in the late aughts, before the band's 2009 disillusion. Yet the band's legend – at least on Canada's East Coast – never truly dimmed, as its rotating members continued to shine on their own, including group mastermind AA Wallace's turn as a synth pop artist. A spat of shows in 2017 quickly blossomed into full-blown reunion. Now based in Toronto (ironic for a group who proclaimed, "I don't want to move to Toronto") and working with a relatively steady line-up, Every Word Is a Trap is the latest product of this creative renewal, following the four-song Keith Hamilton EP back in 2017.
The record picks up where the band left off, delivering punchy, anthemic rock'n'roll. Yet rather than dull their attack, time has sharpened the band's edges; the hooks are stickier, the production, including help from Joel Plaskett on "Kids on Drugs," decidedly modern without losing the visceral thrill.
Perhaps the only thing about the group that has mellowed is Wallace's world view. Once upon a time, he'd take on all comers, regularly mocking trends and industry expectations in both interviews and his music. Now he writes songs like "If You Let It," about the beauty of giving up a constant need for control.
Reunion records are usually subject to managed expectations. But Every Word Is a Trap manages to not just match Sleepless Nights best work, but often improve upon it, pairing an aged wisdom with an energy level unheard in bands half their age. It's a fact clearly not lost on Wallace, who notes on "Greatest Hits" that "We're the world's oldest kids," his tongue planted firmly in-cheek. (Acadian Embassy)