Island Standard Time

Island Standard Time is the title of a CD released by Two Old Goats in 2007. I received a demo copy that I promised to review and, well, haven’t until now. I’ve played tracks here and there but hadn’t really listened to the album as a whole until this weekend. Truth be told, folk music is not generally my “thing” — I lean toward more percussive music — so it’s not what I usually reach for. Add to that my attachment to digital music on my iPod and laptop and… well, CDs just don’t spin much around me. Still, better late than never, right?*

The Two Old Goats in question are Colin Newell and Charlie Burton. They are talented musicians whose voices complement one another as do their guitar skills. The tracks on Island Standard Time gently roll from one to the next with ease — the only exception to that is the last track, AM Radio Blues, which feels like it belongs on a different album.

As suggested by the title, the tracks are focused on Island life; the E&N railway, Tofino, Sooke Harbour, Oak Bay, and even the intersection of Hillside and Gorge are named. Developers, cyclists, orcas, bingo parlours, and guys with packs of Craven-A in their shirt pockets are also called out. The lyrics are often more biting than the music but unless you are listening very closely, you may not notice. That said, I couldn’t help but notice and smile at somewhat cynical, hyper-local lyrics like these:

Crocuses and condos, blooming on the skyline,
Gardeners and developers, vying for a byline,
Cycle shops are thriving, in a city losing to congestion
Malahat alternative is a never-ending question

Those lines open the lovely, live track, “Condo Condo Condo” (which I presume is a reference to the 1962 song “Quando Quando Quando”).  It’s my favourite on the album and I’ve shuffled it on to my iPod for regular listening. As for the rest of the album, I will likely bust it out for dinner parties as it not only makes for nice background music but fun conversation about our Island world, smugness and all.

Interested? You can preview the tracks and buy it online at the Two Old Goats website.

*While I often chat with Colin over coffee (we both work on the same campus) I was reminded that this review was still outstanding when he announced (via Twitter) that he would be giving away a free copy of Island Standard Time to the first 50 people to buy a beer at PechaKucha Night this Thursday.  You can also find Colin blogging about coffee, food and politics at coffee.bc.ca.