It was exactly one month back that I last featured No Frills when they shared the excellent single Copy Cat. The track was lifted from the Toronto based outfit’s upcoming debut album, Downward Dog. The brainchild of self-deprecating songwriter Daniel Busheikin, No Frills began in his bedroom before expanding to the fleshed-out four-strong indie-rock collective they now are. A month out from Downward Dog’s release, today the band are premiering the latest single from the record, Darkhorse.
A study on, “the carrot dangling in front of our collective faces, promising an ultimate material reward that will always elude us“, Darkhorse was written after Daniel was sacked from the cafe of the same name. As he explains of the track it’s, “basically a more pretentious version of ‘work sucks // I know“, nodding to a Blink-182 inspiration that certainly isn’t obvious from the music on display here.
The track greets us with a delightfully meandering guitar-line and steady driving rhythm, nodding to the late-noughties-ilk of Darwin Deez or Here We Go Magic. While having that delicious sound as refreshingly cool as lemonade on a summer’s afternoon, there’s a sense with the arrival of the vocals and then wavering synths, it’s perhaps not as idyllic as the first listen might suggest. The mid-section finds Daniel at the aural equivalent of staring wistfully into space, as he asks, “what happened here? When did it dissolve? How could every promise be a bust?” There’s little in the way of a turn-around, as towards the song’s close the guitars take on a more jagged darkness, and Daniel hits us with the repeated refrain, “waiting for the prize”. Nodding, deliberately or not, to The Flaming Lips, only rather than actively racing towards something like Wayne and the gang, he’s sat back passively wondering if the rewards will ever come his way. Sure I can’t guarantee them the Polaris Prize or a Juno Award, but with a record as good as Downward Dog, No Frills surely deserve some sort of glittering trophy?
Downward Dog is out April 1st. For more information on No Frills visit https://nofrills.webflow.io/.