Have you ever been to Regina? I spent about five days there as a young teenager. My opinion on the place is not well formed as I obviously didn’t spend enough time there during that visit to understand or appreciate the nuances that makes the city a nice place to live for many people.
What I did deduce at my young age was that if I lived in Regina, and more specifically grew up in Regina, I would be very bored. During my stay, I visited the bird museum, cut my aunt and uncle’s lawn, helped assemble their trampoline. I even trimmed some trees in their yard all in exchange for top quality room and board. I assume the choice of leisure activities for any young Reginian is either sports or music, and it seems the young lions of Regina have felt more compelled to pick up a guitar than a football in recent years.
Oiseaux are band from Regina made up of members from several other bands from the area and they prove the old adage that great music often comes from the basements of the most boring places on earth. Their tunes are loose and unpretentious. Some sweet mash up of early 70’s Stones and the most raucous moments of the Constantines discography. On The Hanged King, Oiseaux manage to convey a lo-fi, don’t-give-a-fuck feel while still sounding like their music is everything to them.
Songs are coloured with fuzzy malcontent thanks to the turbulence and trouble of the world around them. Perhaps for their own safety and peace of mind, you will not find them on social media. It could be the modern day equivalent of Fugazi not selling t-shirts. These days, you make more on t-shirts than the music itself, but avoiding all social media elevates the already sky high middle fingers the band sends out on The Hanged King. Oiseaux are not the first band to do this but it adds intrigue to their music and politics. They engage with the world through sound, not tweets.
The EP is perfectly formed, starting with the declarative and punchy “What You Need”. The second track, “The Hanged King” fits the earlier Stones/Cons comparison best. The refrain of “I was depraved / Don’t shine that light on me!” acknowledges the band’s influences and with a simple negative change, shows how different the world is now than it was in the early seventies and early aughts. “Rubacava” is the EP’s catchiest tune, building slowly and tactfully towards a glorious guitar explosion and some essential “woo hoo hoo”’s. “Holy Roller” is the comedown and finds Oiseaux exploring a more downtrodden and droney punk rock than its predecessors. It’s the sad, dark crown on top of The Hanged King’s head.
Oiseaux are one of a few exciting bands coming out of Regina at the moment and hopefully they manage to change the outsider’s perspective of their city from boring prairie town to rock and roll holy land.