Reasons to Live: NQ Arbuckle

Reasons to Live: NQ Arbuckle, Seeming, Big Scary
Ben Rayner ~ The Toronto Star

NQ Arbuckle, The Future Happens Anyway (Six Shooter). Toronto roots ’n’ roll quintet NQ Arbuckle has been quietly consistent for more than 10 years, but its fifth album — counting 2009’s fine collaborative disc with the lovely Carolyn Mark, Let’s Just Stay Here, that is — is a real charmer. No drastic change-ups in the mix, although the music might be a bit more ominous and brooding than usual in patches. That befits a record noticeably preoccupied with sickness, ageing, death and the various insecurities that can crowd a worried mind in the middle of the night, however, even if frontman Neville Quinlan tackles the subject matter with typical wit and humour. And, of course, with drink in hand. “Red wine, you must be so bored of our problems,” he muses on the rollicking “Red Wine,” while “Death” has him lighting up a cigarette to “scare away the bugs” in the dark of a woodland night and lamenting: “The bottleneck that drains is trying to kill me / Oh, death, I’m scared of you tonight.”
There’s a good balance of the boozy and the ruminative here, too. “Back to Earth” and the rousing “Hospitals” have some real grit and muscle to them, for instance, but they share near-equal space with quieter, wearier numbers like “Hot Shot,” the heartfelt elegy “Art O’Leary” and the heartfelt let’s-put-the-fight-behind-us lullaby “Sleepy Wife.” Lots to dig into here, musically and lyrically.


The Future Happens Anyway
( April 2014, Six Shooter Records )