A sunny guitar intro and vague, confused lyrics sung to a nostalgic 60s beat: Living Hour’s ‘Summer Smog’ illustrates quite accurately what its title and the album cover both evoke, the inevitably contemplative mood of anyone who has been sitting at the beach for a little too long. Whether any of the words are more sophisticated than “ooh”, though, I ï¬nd diï¬ƒcult to tell.
The ï¬rst track slowly becomes less fuzzy, picking up a sweet tempo similar to many holiday songs, which is always very welcome in February. Immediately afterwards, ‘Seagull’ stagnates in the same musical and thematic region, its eï¬€ortlessness temporarily broken by a short but energetic solo.
It seems brave for a ï¬rst production to have most of its tracks over rather than under the four-minute line, but Living Hour manages to stay on the right side of the limit between the long and the unnecessarily diluted, settling for a few ballads like ‘There Is No Substance Between’ which pulls the band away from slightly weak pop to more experimental psychedelia as in ‘Mind Goodbyes’.
Originally from one of the sunnier cities of Canada, Winnipeg, the band’s debut album recreates a dreamy atmosphere with no surprises, tracing the outlines of a world still marked by adolescence where the boundaries between diï¬€erent elements are blurred.