Dojo Workhorse - Weapons Grade Romantic
When The Dudes' Dan Vacon decided he needed an outlet for more introspective songs, he began performing around his native Calgary under the name The Dojo Workhorse. Those shows and the demos that followed have finally evolved into the broad rock album Weapons Grade Romantic.
Obviously the theme for the record is love and relationships. Vacon shows us both the triumph and heartache of love on the album. A song like the joyous, hook-filled "Misbehave" is juxtaposed against the sullen, almost hopeless "How To Be Lonesome".
From a musical standpoint Vacon pulls in a diverse set of influences and sounds. He swings effortlessly between lush, cello-heavy arrangements to smooth pop rock to horns section numbers to laid back tracks like "New Year's Eve" (and it's Jack Johnson vibe), handling each with aplomb.
It's the tragedy of love that's most compelling though. Be it the bluesy "Truly Wasted" or the lushly arranged "Late For Life" Vacon seems to enjoy basking in the misery love creates. On the album's standout duet "Laval Street" he laments 'I'm haunted by who's holding you tonight', the sentiment sums up much of the aura of the album.
Anyone who's been in love, lost love, got it back again, then did something stupid to lose it, will relate to Weapons Grade Romantic. If not, just sit back and enjoy the fine musical craftsmanship.
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