Winnipeg-based folk-rock band Indian City (led by Vince Fontaine of Eagle & Hawk) takes an introspective dive into self-discovery and Indigenous narratives in their latest album, Code Red.
“Star People” introduces this ride with an acoustic-led arrangement that progresses into a drum-and-string punch. It goes side-by-side with the message about moving forward and embracing an identity defined by the stars (and numerous possibilities). Edgy guitar riffs make the title track a delightful bop. It’s an invitation for headbangs and stomps that will make listeners chant “code red” every single time the chorus kicks in.
The beat shifts when the Indigenous-inspired instrumentation and backing vocals surface in “Wannabe,” which acknowledges the idea of embracing the Seven Sacred Teachings. “I wannabe wisdom, truth, respect and honesty,” Juno award-winner Chantal Kreviazuk sings.
The astronomical concept of being on a journey to greatness present in the first track is a theme that continues in “The Path,” a pop-y song that exudes optimism and togetherness on the road to reconciliation.
Stepping down a notch, “Forgiving” is a soothing ballad about righting wrongs and prioritizing love. It is easily one of the highlights of this recent release.
The bubbliness of true love is easily spotted all throughout “Smile,” with its catchy lyrics and feel-good arrangement. This song goes hand-in-hand with “The Path” and “Walk Around the World,” its equally joyful successor.
To finish things off, “Storyteller” is a folk singalong with a simple structure and repetition. It isn’t as much of an earworm as the previous tracks, but it ends the album with a sense of tranquility.
Overall, Code Red is a welcome soundtrack amid the hardships of reconciliation, emphasising hope for what the future can entail and, also, about how people can lead this process with mutual love and acceptance.
Published in Volume 76, Number 09 of The Uniter (November 12, 2021)