The Odds are a Canadian band that rose to prominence in the early 1990s with their hit album Bedbugs. Featuring the song "Heterosexual Man" the band became closely tied with the comedy troupe the Kids in The Hall who appeared in the video. They followed up Bedbugs with their commercially successful album Good Weird Feeling; this had a number of top 40 hits and brought the band some much deserved attention.
After releasing the follow-up album, Nest, as well as a greatest hits compilation, the band decided to take a hiatus and focus on individual projects. After 10 long years the Odds are back with a new release entitled Cheerleader. Band members Doug Elliott, Craig Northey, and Steven Drake are joined by newcomer Murray Atkinson who had worked with the trio on various projects.
The Odds have always had an interesting sound featuring alternative music, pop vocal styling and edgy comedic undertones. When I first heard they were releasing a new album I was pretty excited. The Odds have always resonated with me and I was eager to try out their new material. The other side of me was worried that they had been apart too long, new blood would distill the sound and that the unknown quality that fuels their music might be lost.
Fortunately the album starts with a bang with the great pop fueled song "Cloud Full of Rocks". The music has evolved, but the sound is unmistakably the Odds and that is a very good thing. While not the best song on the album, it is a great opening number that showcases their alt-pop style and characteristic strong vocals.
Other songs on the album pull you right back into the Odds experience, "My Happy Place" is a great high energy tune that will have you singing along with the band. The Odds have always worked well with harmonies and choruses that pull the songs together; "My Happy Place" is a great example of this.
There are plenty of other standout tracks such as "Breakthrough", "Leaders of the Undersea World", "River is Cried", and especially "Come to L.A." All of these songs have completely different sounds, tone, and approaches, adding to a varied experience within a single album. Their lyrics are sometimes edgy, sometimes sarcastic, and always infectious.
The Odds have always benefited from having multiple vocalists and guitar fueled tracks that work together, their newest release is a prime example of that. The songwriting, music, and vocals are all tight and I would easily say that Cheerleader could stand as some of the best material the Odds have released.
The Odds are not an incredibly well know band (especially after the long hiatus) but this is a great album that stands apart from the standard formulaic bands we so often see finding commercial success. Seeming to channel the likes of Elvis Costello, Squeeze, Franz Ferdinand, and Tom Petty, Cheerleader is a great experience for any music lover.