The Rheostatics are really talented, really nice, really funny, really seriously good music-makers who make amazing album after amazing album. New stuff. Listen.

see Nick Buzz, Martin Tielli, The Violet Archers

Information: The USA Rheostatics Page
Suggested First Purchase: Whale Music

Greatest Hits (1987) -- This first album barely points in the directions they would turn to in the future, but it is still a very original sound, especially for 1987. Highlights include "Crescent Moon," "The Ballad of Wendel Clark Parts I and II," "Public Square," and "Delta 88." B

Melville (1991) -- Four years did wonders for the Rheostatics, and this album sounds as new and different today as then. It's pretty and spacey and floating around. A

Whale Music (1992) -- This album took Melville and expanded the scope of it, making the fish motifs fishier and the wonderful interesting music more wonderful and more interesting. The album opens with the epic duo of "Self Serve Gas Station" and "California Dreamline," has a little fun with "Rain, Rain, Rain," rocks a bit, gets really serious and pretty with "Shaved Head," and ends with the perfect "Dope Fiends and Boozehounds." A

Whale Music Soundtrack (1994) -- This movie soundtrack is mostly instrumentals of Whale Music and the upcoming Introducing Happiness, but it's not a worse album for it. The removal of lyrics shows us how great the music is, that it can even stand alone if it needs to, and that the Rheostatics are capable of making music that actually can summon up whales (as the movie suggests it does). "Song of Danger" is a highlight among the rest of the greatness. A

Introducing Happiness (1995) -- For a long time this was my favorite album, and I still maintain that it's practically perfect. The dark waters of Whale Music part for the happy bubbling stream. All kinds of weird greatness going on here, from the opening "Fan Letter To Michael Jackson" to the epic "Earth/Monstrous Hummingbird" to "Take Me In Your Hand" (one of the prettiest songs ever written) to the life-embracing "In This Town" to the super-epic "Onilley's Strange Dream," it's all super-duper. A

Music Inspired By the Group of 7 (1996) -- Music inspired by Canadian painters, this work was commissioned as a live performance at the National Gallery of Canada, but luckily they recorded it as an album for everyone else to hear, because it's some of the most fantastic (mostly) instrumental music. The conversation by old guy painter gets in the way of the music, but take that away and it's wonderful. A

The Blue Hysteria (1996) -- Although a remarkable album by normal standards, this one isn't quite as good by Rheostatics standards. It's almost like they forget how to write normal rock songs by this point, and the fact that their next three albums are "special" albums may prove this. Again, though, still great music as music goes. Highlights include the classic "Fat" and "The Idiot." B

Double Live (1997) -- This double CD set is a good representation of the bigness of the big shows and the smallness of the small shows (the latter their more natural setting) while touring with the Tragically Hip (and other shows) in 1997. It all fits together nicely, and since the songs are great, and since they bring new life to live versions, this is a nice recording. A

The Nightlines Sessions (1997) -- An extremely fun collection of songs and skits put together for the final episode of CBC's Nightlines radio show, so quirky and funny (and with some great songs as well) that it's one of my favorites. Definite highlights are "Baby, I Love You" and "Stolen Car." A

The Story of Harmelodia (1999) -- This is a children's record, accompanied by a children's book, and it's the story that gets in the way--specifically the narration of the story interfering with the music. Take out the narration and you're left with some good tunes, but then it's a little small, not as huge as intended. It just doesn't work that well, but I'm not sure that a children's record for adults really can. Highlights from the recording include "I Fab Thee," "Monkeybird," "Popopolis," "Loving Arms," and "Home Again." B

Night of the Shooting Stars (2001) -- A good album, though it takes quite a few listens before any of them begin to get in your head. Not as immediate or "deep" (however you want to take that word to mean) as a lot of the other albums, but a good "regular rock album" nonetheless. B

2067 (2004) -- An improvement over Night of the Shooting Stars, though this time a little on the quiet side, not necessarily in a good way. The epics aren't as epic (they're a little too slow and non-varied), and the zany isn't as zany... but when the album works, it works, such as in the highlights "Little Bird, Little Bird," "Polar Bears and Trees," and "Making Progress." The bonus track of a remix of "Record Body Count" is a good addition. B

Copyright (c) Aug 2000 - Oct 2005 by Rusty Likes Music