If SONIK wants to make a statement with his debut solo offering, he couldn’t have made “Back Home in Ontario” much better. “Back Home in Ontario” flies the rock n’ roll flag high and mighty, but it also puts one element above all others in the spotlight – the charismatic voice of its leading man. SONIK isn’t wrapping himself in a blanket of needless virtuosity in search of an identity in this performance; he knows what he is and what his music is all about, which is why his confidence is able to translate as well as it does here.
The acoustic guitar element in a nice accent to the distorted portion of this mix, and I wouldn’t say that it gives this vocal too much to compete with. If anything, the acoustic strings are adding to the textural presence of the music and making this lead singer sound a lot more pastoral than he would have otherwise. It’s a strange way to insert a bit of rare intimacy into the mix, but for what SONIK was looking to do, this is about the most organic and natural formula he could have employed, all things considered.
Rock n’ roll has never been about bells and whistles nor the synthetic filler that has given birth to new pop genres in the past ten years, and this artist doesn’t want to change that at all. His efficient ear, when coupled with the straightforward look that producers were trying to nail down, ensures that we’re never listening to a bunch of noise compacted into melodic ribbonry just to appease those who listen to the FM dial exclusively, which isn’t the case for a lot of the other indie rockers I’ve come across in the past couple of years.
The uniquely Canadian lyrical element is a fun attribute that further tethers the artistry of SONIK and The Sonic Memes to the underground scene from which they’ve been sprung into fame quite recently, but it’s also a heartfelt bit of substance in a performance that already feels like one of the more honest in rock today. These aren’t musicians who just want clout and attention from the press, and if they were, I highly doubt they would be putting the kind of love into the material that “Back Home in Ontario” is built around. This is a passion project, and you don’t have to be a professional critic to recognize as much.
“Back Home in Ontario” is definitely worth checking out whether you’re a serious rocker or just a casual fan of the genre, and I think it’s going to bring SONIK plenty of love as the year goes forward. There’s been an increasing demand for heavy music in the past twelve months especially, and looking at the market today would indicate that SONIK picked the right time to make his debut, both with regards to his scene and the genre of music he’s playing. Rock is officially back in business, and he’s doing his part to keep it relevant in 2022.
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