Two Hours Traffic is a band from Prince Edward Island, and they certainly sound like it. If you have heard much from Matt Mays, Joel Plaskett, Hey Rosetta, or Sloan (all east coast acts), you will likely find much of Territory very familiar.
I would say that on this album, the style sits mostly somewhere between Sloan when they are channelling 70’s rock and earlier Matt Mays (like say…Cocaine Cowgirl), but leans a little towards the folkier rock of Plaskett and Hey Rosetta. I’m sure it will take me a few more listens to figure out the other familiar styles I noticed on the first listen, but there certainly were snippets of Sonic Youth in the intro/verse of Noisemaker, And 40’s pop/barbershop quartet influence on Weightless One and Sing a Little Hymn. Lots of borrowing going on here.
Darker, rockin’ song. The chorus of this one really reminds me of Cocaine Cowgirl by Matt Mays and El Torpedo, but I think I like this song better, due to the more varied dynamics and sounds. I
really like the synthy stuff that leads into the chorus.
This one alternates back and forth from smoky organ to reggae style muted guitars and vocal echoes before the soft new-wave pre-chorus leads into the smooth sweet chorus. I was a little surprised at the direction the chorus took the first time I listened to it, but it fits really well with the song, and manages to generate some energy without getting louder. I liked how the ending added the organ back in, and took everything up just a couple notches, keeping the feel of the whole song coherent, but still taking you somewhere.
I think the melancholy songs on this album were my favorite, including this one. Another smooth blend of styles, starting with the Sloan-ish intro rhythm guitars, into a verse that is very Weezer sounding with its oooo-wooo-oooo backups, but not so Weezer sounding in its atmospheric looseness, the pre-chorus that seems to borrow from Saves the Day’s In Reverie, who in turn were borrowing from Electric Light Orchestra and their contemporarys, and finally the chorus, which is the intro over again, but with a melancholy vocal line over top.
The more I write this section, the more I realize I am not as skilled at picking out and identifying sounds as I thought I was. Anyhoo, some of my favorite sounds on this album were the keys, specifically the slow attack, shimmering, organ sounds on noisemaker and sing a little hymn, although at times, they almost sounded like they might be guitars through an electro-harmonix pog or hog. It is also possible that it’s just some synth modelling, and I am not knowledgable about synths, so if you know what is going on there, enlighten me in the comments.
If you like the east coast rock sound, you will surely enjoy this album. If you are are a fan of catchy music in general, and don’t mind the occasional somber or melancholy song mixed in with the upbeat, danceable stuff, this will also likely be right up your alley. The album borrows very much from other acts, and is not strikingly oringinal, but that does not mean it is not enjoyable, maybe just a little less exciting.