Luke Doucet and The White Falcon – [Album]

Monday, 30 August 2010

The frustrating thing about semantics is that, as clear and straightforward as one might try to be, it may still be taken the wrong way. As an example of just how a term may be misunderstood, take the phrase 'classic rock record.' For some readers, seeing the words 'classic rock record' will call to mind images and thoughts of Led Zeppelin IV, Harvest Moon by Neil Young, “The White Album” by The Beatles, Exile On Main Street by The Rolling Stones or The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars by David Bowie. In those cases, 'classic rock record' is a generic reference; each falls under the 'classic rock' heading on radio stations and in record store bins because each is of a vintage decades old and each has proven to have an enduring influence. Then there are records like Steel City Trawler. The new album by Luke Doucet and The White Falcon is a classic because it captures the group at a highpoint in their creative powers and and represents all that is best about Doucet's faculties as a songwriter and performer. The songs tap into timeless themes and sounds that instantly hook listeners. Steel City Trawler is a brand new record, and it is a sure classic.

Like all classics, Steel City Trawler opens smoothly and confidently, but without really trying anything earnest on the fluffy-by-all-accounts romp “Monkeys.” Using nothing more than conventional rock instruments (guitar, bass, keys, drums), Doucet intentionally uses transparent imagery and a very methodical delivery (the words “run away, far enough to find the words to say/what you think about me and my wandering days/so go ahead and think about it and bring me back a bouquet of your findings” take all they time they need to escape Doucet's lips and, when they finally do, listeners will cheer – whether they get it or not) to titillate listeners and draw them in – and there's no escape after the hook is set. The punchline about “Monkeys” is that it's actually a love song but, by the time listeners realize it (around the same minute the singer clips off with the line, “I will rest and you will see… there's room for all the monkeys in our tree”), it'll be redundant because they'll have already fallen in love with Doucet and will follow him anywhere.

With the hook set and the spell cast, Doucet rediscovers the joy of teenage kicks and sarcasm (check out “Thinking People,” which plays like Doucet's answer to Lowest Of The Low's “I'm An Adult Now”) with a guitar tone that sounds deliberately sloppy but confounds easy categorization by remaining terribly tight; in this case, “Thinking People” plays the screaming youth card back on itself to illustrate that life doesn't end at twenty-seven and makes a great sell on the idea.

Even with those battles won though, Doucet doesn't take a minute to rest on any laurels. Rather, he lays out some stone soul with the help of wife Melissa McClelland on “Hey Now” and pays dry-eyed respect to Brit-pop on “The Ballad Of Ian Curtis” before drawing some parallels between Hamilton “Steel City” Rock and Alice Cooper-esque, Motor City Rock in “You Gotta Get It.” In each of those cases (and many, many more), Doucet pays a glancing tribute to the greats before penning and playing something great that does have parallels with the past, but also stands up solid in its' own right; the comparisons that could be drawn only occur in passing, but the singer/guitarist's vibrant performance makes each Doucet's own, unquestionably.

That said, of course an argument could be made that Steel City Trawler couldn't have existed without genre-shaping records like Exile On Main Street, Love It To Death, Harvest Moon and (maybe) even Raw Power but what makes all the difference here is the sense and sensibilities of the conduit through it's all passing and that's Luke Doucet. On Steel City Trawler, impressions of some of the greatest sounds in rock history are filtered through one guitarist and delivered to listeners with love and heart. While keeping his eye on the greats, Luke Doucet has made his one classic, defining record.



Steel City Trawler
comes out on Six Shooter Records on August 31, 2010 in Canada and on September 21, 2010 on Six Shooter Records in the United States. Pre-order your domestic releases here at or here on

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