When you look at the history of the Toronto act Blimp Rock, it’s easy to get lost in the schtick. Their mission statement is to hold a concert in a blimp over Lake Ontario, and they need $700,000 to do it. They’re currently at negative $2,000 and “closer than ever before” to their goal. Projected launch time for the blimp concert: 2060-75. The songs of Peter Demakos are often hilarious and heartfelt, comparable to Mathias Kom of the Burning Hell. Demakos sings about mysterious Lake Ontario lifeguards; the power of baseball to bring people together; the pleasures of staying indoors (written years before COVID-19); a duet with the devil in which he and Satan are always hanging out, but it seems like Satan only wants his soul.
But a song like “Soap Opera” shows that Demakos has a talent for writing about one thing on the surface and another thing as you dig deeper into the song. A good example of this duality is from Soap Opera the album: “I Love My Cat” is an ode to feline “companionship,” particularly how it can help deal with all the “microtraumas in my life.” Oh, Demakos also loves his Cat Stevens.
“Soap Opera,” a part of the massive Text Me When You Get Herecompilation by Fallen Love Records, starts out as a song about staying clean. The guitars on a Blimp Rock song are instantly recognizable and always sunny, and there’s even a little backing piano for added oomph. Demakos talks about his lifelong struggle with “dirt” and keeping himself clean, but the narrative begins to shift as he sings, “But sometimes the dirt keeps coming and won’t come off no matter how hard we scrub”.
A few verses later, the narrative changes again. Suddenly, he’s mentioning someone he was very close to who went to jail when Demakos was a year old. The person got released quickly but relapsed into their “criminal ways” and did something terrible. But Demakos chooses not to wallow in the dirt, wryly (and sincerely) observing, “We don’t choose the dirt that we get/but we can choose the soap/ and I found some for me: friends, blimp concerts, and therapy”. Even in a potentially horrific story, Demakos finds a moral and a way to leave the darkness behind.
So, yes, Blimp Rock have “sued the Toronto Blue Jays” and went on a tour to support a bird blimp, but they also produce simple, catchy, heartfelt, and surprisingly complex pop-rock music. Rub-a-dub dub.