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Music Review: Vancougar – Losin’ It

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At some point in every adult's life, all the nonsense about meeting cute and playfully circling a potential mate becomes more than a bit tiring. Any world-weary 21 year old will tell you that with an exasperated sigh, sipping an espresso during dramatic pauses.

It takes someone a bit more seasoned, though, to feel it in their bones and do something about it. For them, it's essential the courtship be short and to the point. It's time to rock and/or roll with no delay. May I recommend the following?

"I'm a really good girl with a really bad body / Naughty"

With that entire song, the ladies of Vancougar pull you in with a catchy bass line, a snappy drumbeat, pounding keys, and a vocal approach that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and then politely but firmly requests your presence on the dance floor.

With a sound stripped bare of all pretension and flourish, Vancougar lays down thirty minutes of bare-wire electricity on their recently released first LP, Losin' It, applying punk aesthetics and catchy hooks to gloriously filthy garage rock.

This slightly mature quartet from Vancouver, BC, takes the name from the legendary cougars of every wine bar and dive bar you've been to, hunting the younger man to extinction. Eden Fineday is lead singer, guitarist, songwriter, and raconteur. Becca Stewart, bass player, worked with Fineday in CA and again in BC when both ended up home again. Megan Johnson (keyboard) and CC Rose (drums) were roped in later; Rose came over from work with The Clinch and Pink Mountaintops.

Losin' It covers the usual rock'n'roll material: lost love, found love, lost and found love, financial advice. However, Fineday's songs and lead vocal efforts bring wit and swagger to finding a first band (the poppy "Mine First"), a first day at school ("Kids at School"), or just the first thing to come along ("Temporary Teamwork" and its irresistible harmonies).

The music's sparse nature belies its intelligence as well. "Painkiller" could have been rewritten from a charming harpsichord waltz into this ode to taking two and calling in the morning. The gently subtle "Repetition" is a heartbreaking cry for help from a dying marriage, smartly underlined by a percussive march from Rose and a dangerously strong undertow from Stewart and Johnson that Fineday's voice reaches over desperately to get to the chorus.

The band's promotional materials tout Vancougar's ability to winnow out the filler material on Losin' It, perhaps showing concern that you will feel cheated by such a short album. Instead, let me suggest that there are far too many groups of gentlemen that have yet to keep up their end of the bargain for half an hour, no matter how many tricks they think they have. Those men (and you) should check out Losin' It.

The ladies of Vancougar

 

The ladies of Vancougar – Photo by Michelle Ptashnick

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