BULLRIDER celebrated the April 13th, 2019, release of their debut album ‘Hidden Gems and the Love of Another’ with an Album Release show at The Pyramid Cabaret in Winnipeg, MB.
We were greeted at the door by BULLRIDER lead vocalist Bobby Desjarlias, an endearing man who personally welcomed us with a copy of the new CD and a beer cozy with the band’s logo on it.
BULLRIDER are a five piece Alt-Pop band based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I’m not really sure why they call themselves “alt-pop”, except that the “alt” is what you call an indie band until they become mainstream. The fact is, they are very much mainstream pop-rock and their songs lend themselves perfectly to radio play. The songs you want to hear when you are driving down the road to pick up your girlfriend/boyfriend and go on a date. Some of their songs remind me of ARKELLS, because they are anthem style.
Anthem style refers to a style of song where every chorus is a loud energetic climax. Usually a song will have a climax at the end. In an anthem style song, every chorus is brought to a climax. Songs from the album like “The News” and “Dying” are all climax. Other songs like “I’m Happy Where I Am” have a marching drum beat and lots of whoo hoos and clapping. The songs offer excitation – a little rush of adrenaline.
I’m also reminded of KINGS OF LEON and ATTICA RIOTS …oh wait…Bobby Desjarlais IS the voice of ATTICA RIOTS.
ATTICA RIOTS (Desjarlais and brothers Kyle and Anders Erickson) released their long awaited first album in January 2018 just before embarking on a tour with BIG WRECK for Big Wreck’s 20th anniversary tour. It seems Desjarlais came back from that tour and immediately released the BULLRIDER debut album.
BULLRIDER is a five-piece band comprised of Ben Ferguson (Ash Koley), Chris Peluk (Alverstone, Mad Young Darlings), Tom Sinnott, Erik Pescitelli (Los Mapaches) and Bobby Desjarlais (The Bokononists, Attica Riots). Hidden Gems and the Love of Another’ is produced by BULLRIDER; Engineered by Paul Yee and Ben Ferguson; Recorded at Stereobus Recording and G&M Studio; Mixed by Paul Yee at Stereobus; and Mastered by Peter Letros at Wreckhouse Mastering in Toronto. It’s evident how much work, rework, talent and perfection has gone into the recording of the CD. It’s radio quality.
The songwriting is good and influenced by Ben Ferguson. Desjarlias has a nice voice and the lyrics take you on a journey. Like I said, road trip.
The band puts the same energy into their live performance. The show at The Pyramid was professional, tight, and the band looked like they work well together. Desjarlias stands still too much at the mic, but he faces the crowd and has the same endearing personality on stage that he showed us when he greeted us at the door. You get the feeling he is sharing with you, rather than just performing.
I listened to the album over and over, because I wanted to find something in it that sets it apart. Originally, I was bored and thought it sounded like so many other songs, but after a while I changed my mind. My conclusion, after listening to it repeatedly for weeks and not getting sick of it, is that Desjarlais is what sets it apart. I grew to like his voice. After listening for a while my imagination got the better of me. I felt like I knew him. I began to attribute the song lyrics to him personally and decided he was the bad, dysfunctional-boyfriend type. I started to take a relationship story out of the songs on the album. I imagined what led to the lyrics and what type of person the man singing must be. I both wanted his voice in my ears, and wanted him to go away. Complicated, endearing, bad boy whispering sweet nothings and twisting my heart. Now that’s good song writing. Relatable.
I like the pop-rock tempo of the songs. There are some good guitar licks. I was annoyed by the whoo hoos in the beginning, but with a hell of a lot of catchy choruses, I found myself whoo hooing along after a while. My favourite song is Typical Lover. It has a nice guitar riff. Missing Out is actually the title song with the lyrics ‘hidden gems and the love of another’. Tell me if I’m wrong thinking there is some KINGS OF LEON influence in that song? Dead On My Heel added some vocal surprises at the end of the song. In the song Dying, I challenge you to try to sing “dying” along with Dejarlais. I like how he says it. I’m Happy Where I Am had lots of whoo hoos and clapping along with a marching beat. Try not to feel happy while you listen.
Winnipeg’s BULLRIDER will quickly established themselves as one of the most up and coming bands in Canada. Given the effort that’s gone into their debut CD and the tight energetic live performance they give, they will get radio play and they will tour. They will establish a following. They will be nominated for awards. You heard it here first folks, predicted by OhJustEatIt.ca.