Street Pharmacy – Pharmanomics
1.) To My High School Friends
2.) Settled Down
3.) The Code
4.) Student Ghetto Fantasy
5.) Old Time Beat
6.) Trailer Parks
7.) Red Light Midnight
8.) Twenty Young
9.) Lying Next To You
10.) The Morning Song
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: January 13th, 2015
Record Label: Handsome Boy/Fontana North
Official Website: Street Pharmacy Website
From Welland, Ontario, Street Pharmacy is a now three-piece reggae-rock group consisting of Ryan Guay (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Jesse Robitaille (Bass), and Isaac Thompson (Drums). Since their formation in 2006, the band has released six full-length albums and has been a mainstay in Canada’s independent scene. The band gained more attention after being featured on and named co-winners of the hit Canadian reality show disBAND, which introduced their music to new fans and industry players, including Adam Tune (Keys N Krates), Ian Blackwood (The Artist Life, Jersey), James Robertson (Skye Sweetnam, Down With Webster), Will Marr and John Doherty (illScarlett, Trouble & Daughter), who all had a hand in producing Phamonomics and it’s accompanying EP of the same name.
Oh Canada, thank you for this album.
While many bands have adopted an alternative/hip-hop sound, a la Beastie Boys or Linkin Park, few successfully maintain this multi-genre sound throughout an entire album the way Street Pharmacy has on Pharmanomics. Featuring songs about girls, growing up, and the various hardships of life, this album will find a place in the hearts of those who long for the kind of rock that seemingly disappeared over the past decade.
The band’s musical versatility is shown in the opening track “To My High School Friends,” a mellow, rock and hip-hop influenced ode to youth that should find a home in many of your playlists.
A heavier reggae and ska influence is heard in “The Code,” “Student Ghetto Fantasy,” and “Trailer Parks,” the latter of which showcases some playful wordplay like “mashed potatoes was as soft as I could be” that I can only classify as Ryan Guay’s unique lyricism.
Guay shows more versatility during his rap verse in the Cage the Elephant-esque “Old Time Beat” and the electronic-based “Twenty Young” before returning to a more mellow tone on “Red Light Midnight” and my favorite track of the album; the acoustic feel-good tune “The Morning Song.”
The album has some solid production value from beginning to end, and the band is accompanied by great musicians like trumpeter Kyle Windjack and Terry “Krnfx” Im, whose beat-boxing is heard in the background of “Old Time Beat.”
Overall, Pharmanomics is a good collaborative effort from a group of very talented musicians. Street Pharmacy has enjoyed some modest success in the indie scene with their previous releases, but I believe this album makes them an early contender for 2015’s Breakout Artist of the Year. It isn’t often that a band can blend rock, reggae, hip hop, folk and electronic sounds on an album, but it seems that Street Pharmacy’s strength lies in their versatility. While Ryan Guay’s vocals aren’t exceptional, there’s a likeable quality about him that’s hard to ignore. This is a solid, well-rounded album; and an ode to the kind of music I wish was still being made.
Written & Reviewed By: Andrew Aroche
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]
Watch: Street Pharmacy – “Red Light Midnight”