"At the risk of sounding incredibly pretentious," is how keyboardist Clayton Drake begins when we ask him to describe the music of The Almighty Rhombus, "I usually try to tell people that our sound is an amalgamation of the past 5 decades of pop/rock music, tied together by solid, memorable melodies. We try to be meticulous and thoughtful in our arrangements in order to give the songs some depth and heft beyond the typical pop song." It's an apt description. And the music itself is far from pretentious — the Sudbury five-piece play catchy, fun, indie-pop, something that might remind you a little of Islands or The Unicorns. Their debut full-length, Lucid Living, came out in October (you can stream the whole thing below), they'll be playing in Toronto on Friday, March 21, and they were recently announced as one of the acts on the bill for this year's edition of Canadian Music Week. So we thought we'd take the chance to get to know The Almighty Rhombus a little better.
Members: Mike Kenny (lead vocals and guitar), Clayton Drake (keyboard and vocals), Neil Bednis (bass), Carter Drake (drums and vocals), Cameron Drake (guitar and vocals)
We've all been really into Speedy Ortiz lately. I'm very impressed with how that band has been able to hide memorable melody inside dissonant or off-kilter arrangements.
2. Who, in your opinion, has/had the best facial hair of any band ever?
Obviously the go-to answer is ZZ Top or Lemmy; it's hard to get more iconic than that. However, I never miss a chance to tell people about this video by Focus, which features an all-beard band with a mutton-chopped lead singer/keyboardist/flautist/whistler. It's Dutch prog rock insanity.
3. Your all-time, all-star supergroup?
I'm not sure this band would actually be any good but I can guarantee their music would be fucking unforgettable. It's regrettable that my list is so male-dominated and white but such is the nature of a lot of rock music:
Drums - The drummer for Gentle Giant in this concert. Such great feel and groove for such bizarre music.
Bass - The bassist from Om. Heaviest all-time bass tone: http://youtu.be/kKqoNrZ00Bg
First Guitar - The dude who plays lead guitar in Lindi Ortega's band: http://youtu.be/OanZjkaq-Cc
Second Guitar - St. Vincent. I think we all know she rips.
Third Guitar - Bruce Rooney from our pals Coyote. He's literally the most tasteful, creative lead guitar player I've ever seen in person: No live vids but goddamn this dude knows his way around a fretboard.
Keyboards - To be honest, I don't have a lot of idols as far as keyboard players go. I'm more inspired by the work of guitarists since keyboards tend to be used more as support instruments to pad our sounds in most rock music. Having said that, I'll select Rick Wakeman from Yes cause he wears a fucking cape.
Sax - The sax player in Billy Joel's band in this video. He's clearly just a master showman (also, Billy Joel's entire backing band is incredible).
Vocals/band leader - Jeff Lynne from ELO cause he'd keep all these crazy bastards in check: http://youtu.be/98P-gu_vMRc (A close runner-up would be Bruno Mars)
Backing vocals/second leads - Stevie Nicks, Grace Slick, Chrissie Hynde and Beyoncé
4. If you absolutely had to get a face tattoo of album art from one record, which record would you want to have on your face for the rest of your life?
Aladdin Sane. Go big or go home.
5. If you were going to be a groupie for one band, who would it be?
I'm not sure that everyone is aware of this, but "groupie" implies a sexual interest in the band on the part of the fan. So, I'm going to have to choose an all-female band, even though that would likely mean I'd end up getting arrested for stalking. So, I'll say Sleater Kinney. I really like the band so I could watch them rock out every night and they're all pretty ladies.
In case you're interested, my all-time musical crush is Beyoncé. I would marry her right now if she asked me to, then we could go live in her castle forever.