There’s a lot to love about ‘Forever Is Now‘, the debut album from Montreal trio Les Shirley.
First of all, this record is a really fun listen and we could all use a little fun these days. What’s also impressive is how the trio manages to successfully incorporate so many different feels into their sound: power pop, 80s pop, three-chord punk, garage rock, 70s power rock, it’s all here, perfectly blended with glorious infectious hooks and no filler.
Les Shirley plants their flag on the punk-meets-pop hill right off the bat with ‘Fuck It I’m In Love“. Vocalist/guitarist Raphaëlle Chouinard wields a mighty axe with an infectious opening riff and sneers about looking for a fight. The song is a note-perfect slab of cavity-inducing power-pop. Both ‘Easy Target‘ (which could be a lost Roxette track) with its obscenely catchy chorus, and ‘23‘ with its swirling keys, expertly channel 80s pop and sandwich ‘Sadgirlsclub‘ an out-and-out garage rocker.
‘Courtney‘ is another earworm worthy of the charts, and ‘1994‘ is a nicely crafted 80s style mid-tempo ballad, missing only the Mutt Lange production. The title track has a Danko Jones energy showing off the crack rhythm section of bassist Sarah Dion and drummer Lisandre Bourdages and ‘Trigger‘ is a glammy 70s bubblegum treat. ‘Pick Up the Phone‘ is a breezy pop-folk number featuring Quebec singer-songwriter, Pascale Picard. and the album closes with a radio-friendly version of the opener, you know, just in case.
This type of pop songcraft on a debut is notable and not once does Les Shirley stray from the objective of making an album of fun, solid pop-oriented rock. On ‘Forever Is Now‘ they have certainly done that. This will definitely be high on the 2021 playlist.