Paste (magazine) - "MORNING REPORT falls more on the laidback side, barely unleashing any hip-swinging numbers and rather playing up a softer side of their musicality."
Personnel: Max Kerman (vocals); Mike De Angelis (guitar, background vocals); Anthony Carone (piano, organ, synthesizer, background vocals); Tim Oxford (drums).
Audio Mixer: Mark Needham.
Recording information: Noble Street Studios, Toronto, ON; Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, CA; The Ballroom Studios, Los Angeles, CA; The Hobby Shop, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographer: Matt Barnes .
Since making their debut in 2008, Juno-collecting alt-rockers the Arkells have continued to gradually increase the size of both their musical tent and the amount of fans within it. The Hamilton, Ontario-bred quintet first emerged as a sweaty blue-collar rock outfit with Springsteen-ian ambitions, then, over the course of two more albums, added various amounts of pop sparkle and stadium bombast. With 2014's Tony Hoffer-produced High Noon, they boldly set their sights on the big leagues, delivering a colorful and often grandiose set that brimmed with bright melodies and '80s-inspired synths. The gambit paid off, netting them a gold record and adding two more Juno Awards to their mantle. For their fourth album, they've elected for a bit more of a playful mishmash, working with four different producers on what is certainly their most diverse effort to date. According to frontman Max Kerman, the album's title, Morning Report, refers to getting the lowdown on the adventures and debaucheries of the previous night. From the sound of opening track "Drake's Dad," a piano-led party rocker that features hip-hop beats and a gospel choir, the Arkells have had some memorable nights. "Private School" is a sly jam with a bigger-budget "Loser"-era Beck appeal and the shimmering "A Little Rain (Song for Pete)" is pure exultant fun. The more heartfelt and nostalgic fare like "Savannah" and "Making Due" have an amiable pop charm to them, with easily grabbed hooks and melodies. The decision to work separately with four distinctive producers (Tony Hoffer, Gus Van Go, Brian West, and Joe Chiccarelli) could have led to an utter mess, but Morning Report actually thrives with the added variety. It's unapologetically slick with major pop aspirations, but the Arkells have shown that they can play to the masses while continuing to challenge and entertain themselves. ~ Timothy Monger