For the majority of my life, I thought the name was “The Odds”. But it is just “Odds”. Fun fact.
An even funner fact: I’m not a fan of Neopolitan ice cream or mixing flavours in general. The fewer the ingredients, the better.
My past self has been a casual fan of
The Odds. The album I know best from them is their fourth, Nest, for which my college roommate endlessly played back in the day. What made me dive into the band’s debut is Craig Northey, the man who was partly behind my 2021 album of the year. I wanted to explore more of his music, so what better place to start than where he started?
For the most part, Odds already had their ’90s-power-pop-with-an-“alternative”-edge sound that would carry them through the decade locked in on Neopolitan. Not only did this album spawn two hits for Canadian radio – King of The Heap and Love Is The Subject – but we also have a plethora of solid album tracks as well. No Warning, Big White Wall, Evolution Time, Eternal Ecstasy, and Domesticated Blind are surprisingly strong tunes for a debut album.
Truth or Dare is my favourite of the bunch and I swear by coincidence, is the only track on the album Northey takes full credit for. I love the melody and French lyric, “La vérité, le courage” for the chorus.
But debut albums are gonna debut as some of the songs show a band that is still finding its footing. Family Tree sounds like something they ripped from an Elvis Costello album. Hardly a bad song, just a little out of place.
And the semi-single Wendy Under the Stars… eeeeehhhh…. Written and sung by the band’s other lead singer, Steven Drake, its crass chorus “I was fucking Wendy under the stars the night Elvis died” apparently describes an actual event. I say “semi-single” because there was a clean version with the lyric “I made love to Wendy” that was played on the radio. The lyric comes off as a “Buy the album if you want to hear the naughty word” gimmick. Really, it is an OK song, but just feels a little out of place here.
Finally, there are a couple of throw-away tracks. Are You Listening? is OK. At only 1:45, it is a bit of a sombre tune that I guess bridges a gap between two better songs. It is fine but my mind wanders every time it comes on. I spent an entire week with this album and I still couldn’t hum it to you. What is really bad is the putrid closer, Horsehead Nebula. It isn’t given a number on the back but a “PS”… so I guess it is an extra track? I’m not sure. It has a terrible chorus and… anyway, this crap could have been left off and locked away in a vault somewhere.
When Odds were making waves with their following albums in the ’90s, I kind of thought of them as the Canadian answer to Weezer. But here they are on Neopolitan, doing their thing years before Weezer was Weezer yet. Sure, in regards to lyrics and consistency, the band isn’t quite there yet, but overall this is a fun listen. Just bail on it before that last track starts.
The odds are you need more Odds/Craig Northey/Strippers Union in you:
[Album Review] Odds | Neopolitan
[Album Review] Odds | Bedbugs
[Album Review] Odds | Good Weird Feeling
[Album Review] Odds | Nest
[Album Review] Craig Northey | Giddy Up
[Album Review] Northey Valenzuela
[Album Review] Strippers Union | Stripper’s Union Local 518
[Album Review] The New Odds | Cheerleader
[Album Review] Strippers Union | The Deuce
[EP Review] Odds | The Most Beautiful Place On Earth
[EP Review] Odds | Game Face On
[EP Review] Odds | Party Party Party
[Album Review] Strippers Union | 3- The Undertaking