The Heavy Blinkers
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The Heavy Blinkers


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"MOJO Review"

Tempting as it is to label multi-instrumentalist Jason MacIsaac’s quintet as Nova Scotia’s Beach Boys, there’s much more going on here than such a facile classification suggests. Yes, they do sing like a choir of angels but the luscious Try Telling That To My Baby is more in the style of The Association. Karen Carpenter would have swooned for the achingly tender Gentle Strength, and He Heard His Song would have fitted beautifully on a Spanky And Our Gang album. On a more contemporary note, a sweeter hybrid of Ben Folds Five and Mercury Rev might produce dreamy and intoxicating Blinkers-style soundscapes while their lyrics, like those of the Magnetic Fields or The Handsome Family, can take unexpectedly strange curves and reveal hidden depths. For the full overwhelmingly blissful experience, forget the comparisons and just take it as it comes. - MOJO

"Uncut Review"

Hailing from Nova Scotia backwater, Canadian rock alchemists The Heavy Blinkers play a polished retro-pop that combines sheer Beach Boys harmonies with the tangential quirks of Grandaddy. With songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jason MacIsaac supplying some intelligently layered melodic anthems, Ruth Minnikin sings as though emerging from a deep slumber. Much is pretty, but the standout is the gorgeous Try Telling That To My Baby, a masterclass in meticulous pop orchestration - Uncut

"Q Review"

Small wonder that Van Dyke Parks and The High Llamas are up to speed with the songs of Jason MacIsaac and Andrew Watt: their sunny surf anthems and sad saltwater ballads touch on the orchestral terrain of their hero, Brian Wilson. Which doesn’t mean they’re blatant copyists. Their geography and their sound are poles apart, lending the spooky pop of “Try Telling That To My Baby” and the grandly structured “Fall On My Sword” real artistic punch. Spiritual survival is the name of the HBs game, and they carry it off, too. - Q

"2nd Uncut Review"

Halifax, Nova Scotia, is on the eastern seaboard of Canada. A small fishing community of less than 150,000 inhabitants, it is famous for...well, nothing, basically. Until now. Say hello to The Heavy Blinkers, the perfect pop-lover’s wet dream.

Resuscitating US radio’s ABC or aural candy (Alpert, B Boys, Carpenters), The Heavy Blinkers have obviously kept a special place in their hearts for the music of California’s finest, and specifically Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks’ Icarus-like project, Smile - an album which, although never released and available only on a bootleg, has nevertheless been hugely influential on today’s pop cognoscenti, notwithstanding its sheer weirdness.

What has made these rain-drenched inhabitants of a spartan rocky coastline so enamored of America’s West Coast? Perhaps it’s a desire to transcend their brutal environment that has made them so dementedly positivist, “The time to shine is now, we’re young and can feel every ray - if you just open up your heart,” they sing on “Hey! Hey! You!” with childlike glee.

Clocking in at 47 minutes, THB’s self-titled second album contains 14 full songs and seven musical snippets with almost demo-like qualities, including the Debussy-like “Boxing Day Blues” and a cover of “The Inchworm” from Fifties movie Hans Christian Andersen.

This is a marked progression from their 1998 debut, Hooray For Everything (soon to be re-released with five extra tracks). Simply enjoyable guitar-driven power pop has been superseded by a more sophisticated approach to baroque song construction. Harpsichords, horns, theremins, toy pianos, vibraphones and pedal-steel guitars have all been used to create a soundworld which is both homely and spiritual (total Smile, really), mixing unusual harmonic bridges with simple piano shuffles and multi-tracked harmonies (Ruth Minnikin’s voice is straight outta Spector’s Philles label). And not a sequencer in sight.

With songs about kicking smoking (“Pennycandy On The Brain”), modern food production techniques (“From The Barnyard” - even the titles are pure acid-daze Beach Boys, thanks to heaviest Blinker Jason MacIsaacs' Wilson/Parks obsession), and the complexities of human relationships (“Marmalade”), THB emphasize the importance of emotions in this most alienating of eras.

The band’s sheer joy at the creation of this music often threatens to undo proceedings, and yet they somehow manage to channel their euphoria, their torrent of ideas, long enough to commit them to disc. Although the sound is densely layered, the mixing desk has been put to the service of the musicians, not vice versa.

The approach may have been lavish, but the budget was minimal. Even the animated video for the first single from this record, “You Can Heal”, created from coloured paper and crayons and edited on an Apple Mac computer, cost only 50 bucks.

Cheap but cheerful, indeed. The Heavy Blinkers have the warmth of the sun - in their hearts, if not the skies above their heads.

Look. Listen. Blink heavily. Smile. - Uncut

"3rd Uncut Review"

Better Weather is an album of sophisticated white soul, simply recorded but brimming with ingenious arrangements and complex harmonic blends. A number of the tracks are pure singalong sunshine pop a la their debut album, Hooray For Everything, a largely solo effort recorded by chief Blinker Jason MacIsaac before the band line-up crystallized for last year's eponymous second LP (the latter highly rated in Uncut last year).

For their third album, the band expand their palette to allow country, R&B (in the Beach Boys of Wild Honey sense) and gospel influences. Simple piano shuffles are now augmented by big band horn sections (hear Baby Smile) or jazz and gospel choirs (to great effect on “Malmo”, an instrumental that sounds like something Dennis Wilson might have done).

Central to the band’s refined creative vision is “I Used To Be A Design”, which brazenly splices together contradictory song structures. Originally shopped to Dusty Springfield before her untimely death in 1999, we shall never hear what she would have made of it, but it’s not as great a loss as it may seem - Ruth Minnikin’s interpretation here is dazzling in all its raw and vulnerable beauty.

At 34 minutes, Better Weather may be short, but it’s emotionally candid and spiritually vast, dealing with the wight of life itself. - Uncut

"2nd MOJO Review"

Sunny orch-pop from snowy Nova Scotia.

From a fact-packed biography we learn that living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, The Heavy Blinkers see an average of 43 days of snow a year. Yet with clever use of brass, pedal steel and pristine orchestration, the Canadian quintet conjure the same blue skies as West Coast idols The Beach Boys or The Carpenters. Multi-layered vocals and parping horns give a swing to the upbeat Far As You Are, while 24-piece choir and peaceful pedal steel bask ballads like Malmo in perpetual summer. Which isn’t to say it’s sunshine all the time: for every triumphant Bacharach horn flourish there’s sadder soft-pop reflection. With its mournful strings, I Used To Be A Design is tinged with the same melancholy as Surf’s Up, but the light always breaks through. - MOJO

"Chart Magazine Review"

You can almost hear the pages being ripped out of the Burt Bacharach songbook as The Heavy Blinkers bounce their way through this collection of pure pop perfection. Better Weather hops along like a feather to your eardrums and songs like the super-sweet “Baby Smile” and “Lazy In Love” give off good vibrations, sounding like a combination of The Carpenters and The Beach Boys. The Heavy Blinkers mix up 13 tracks of swirling horn sections, pristine harmonies and singalong syrupy choruses that spell nothing but guilty fun. There’s definitely not much bitching to be done when a release succeeds in making you smile this much. Now, who wants gum? - Chart

"Montreal Mirror Review"

On their fourth LP, Halifax’s Heavy Blinkers ease a sleek, featherweight sound from the same pop realm as Mercury Rev and the Delgados, but with a Brian Wilson-esque ‘70s gauze in place of Dave Frindmann’s contemporary ring and crunch. Their lovely melodies, patient tempos and a masterfully arranged (and restrained) 25-piece orchestra aim high and consistently hit the mark. With a smaller cast and equally powerful tunes, Pas/Cal continue to blow a breath of fresh pop air at Detroit’s diesel-rock fumes. The Beach Boys, Belle & Sebastian and the Smiths are implicated in their heavenly vocals, raucous riffs and scrumptious concoctions of keys and strings, perfect chamber pop-eras for smart-ass romantics. - Montreal Mirror

"BBC Interactive Review"

This is the 4th album from the band from Halifax, Nova Scotia and is arguably their best. If you’re not familiar with them they could best be described as a Beach Boys for the millennium! This could also be called sunshine pop as it is entirely reminiscent of bands like The Yellow Balloon and The Free Design whose trademark was pure pop with gorgeous vocal harmonies. Jason MacIssac’s songwriting has never been stronger and this album shows all the benefits of the 2 years it took to produce. The arrangements are inventive and complex and only go to prove that there’s life outside the 2 guitars, bass and drums format. - BBC


The Night And I Are Still So Young, US Edition
Cooking Vinyl

The Night And I Are Still So Young, UK Edition, Transistor

The Night And I Are Still So Young, Spanish Edition, Mushroom Pillow


The Night And I Are Still So Young, Endearing Records

Intercontinental Pop Exchange No. 3, The Heavy Blinkers and Orwell, Split EP, Endearing Records

Better Weather, Endearing Records

The Heavy Blinkers, Brobdignanian

Hooray For Everything, Self-released



Long considered one of the best pop bands in Canada, the Heavy Blinkers have reached a new maturity with this stunningly orchestrated pop masterpiece.

Two years in the making, "The Night And I Are Still So Young" consolidates the nocturnal orchestrations of the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev and grafts them onto material akin to 70's era Beach Boys, Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman. This album finds the five Blinkers collaborating with over 25 auxilliary players to help create a symphonic tapestry that is as rich and dense as you're likely to hear this year.

The Blinkers are already busy working of the follow up to The Night And I Are Still So Young that will include guest performances by Sondre Lerche, Jeff Lynn (ELO, Traveling Wilburys) and other friends and fans. A European tour is also in the works as well as production on their 2nd music video, which will be fully animated.