Listen to this track by Vancouver-based hitmakers and power-pop champeens Odds, aka The Odds. It’s “Love Is the Subject”, an early single that would be the first of many here in Canada, and showing off their way with hooks, and with irony-tinged pop song narratives, too.
The song would feature on their first record in 1991, Neopolitan, which the band produced themselves after spending many years jobbing as a cover band around town, particularly at the Roxy on Granville Street in Vancouver where they served as a ’60s and ’70s cover band under the name “Dawn Patrol”. Seeing as they’d become one of the prime bands in Canadian power-pop, this must have been like going to university where delivering tight performances for live audiences is concerned.
But another thing on their side was a capacity to take all of those pop instincts and performance chops and pour it into superlative songs of their own. With multiple songwriters in the band, they had plenty to draw from. This initial hit would lead to others, too.
Maybe this is because they so expertly played into the key characteristic of power-pop songwriting – vulnerability wrapped up in a tough package.
Like the best in the genre, this is a song that is free of your standard rock braggadocio, replaced by thoughtfulness about what’s really important, and the kind of guts it takes to achieve it; love, and all of the challenges it can throw at you. But, it’s about dealing with the possibility of failure, too. That’s one of the tensions to be found in this tune. Love isn’t idealized here. It’s something to be dealt with, to be taken on as something that will either kill you or make you stronger.
The “subject” in question could be something really po-faced in the wrong hands. But, Odds make it fun. That’s another thing about power-pop in general of course; it deals with pain and heartbreak, but it sounds like it’s soaring and joyous. That’s another important tension to be found here, too.
I’ve been a fan of this band for many years since this first single. And recently, I got to see them in an intimate venue in Vancouver – Wise Hall.
My other half and I went, and before going she sent tweet saying that she hoped they’d play this early tune. They answered on Twitter that they would. From the stage, they acknowledged the request and played the tune!
Odds are an active recording unit with a new EP out – The Most Beautiful Place on Earth.
Learn about it at Oddsmusic.com