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Corridor are a group from Montreal and their Sub Pop debut, ‘Junior’, was made just yesterday. The rock & roll band had barely inked their record deal when they surfed into studio, racing against time to make the most dazzling, immediate and inventive album of their young career: 39 minutes of darting and dodging guitars, spiralling vocal harmonies and the complicated, goldenrod nostalgia of a Sunday mid-afternoon.
‘Junior’ is the band’s third full-length and their third recorded with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Ethier. However 2015’s ‘Le Voyage Éternel’ and 2017’s ‘Supermercado’ were made languorously, their songs taking shape across whole seasons. This time Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass), Julian Perreault (guitar), Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) and Julien Bakvis (drums) permitted themselves no such indulgence.
Singers, two guitars, bass, drums: the timelessness of the setup underpins the timelessness of the sound, a rock & roll borrowing from each of the past six decades - punk and pop, psych and jangle, daydream and swoon. This is music that’s muscular, exciting and full of love, its riffs a kind of medicine.
Whereas Corridor’s past work could sometimes seem overstuffed, twenty ideas to the same song, the new work is hypnotic, distilled. “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” says Berthiaume. Six of ‘Junior’s 10 tracks were conceived during a single weekend. The words to ‘Bang’ were written on the eve of the sessions, as Robert began to panic: “Je payerai tôt ou tard,” he sings: I’ll pay, sooner or later. Fewer jams, fewer overdubs - no fortnight in the countryside secluding themselves in a chalet. Even the artwork came in the nick of time: in spite of other, meticulous, masterpieces, Robert’s “shitty last-minute collage” (of an egg saying hello) was the one his bandmates went for.
Sub Pop have never before, in their 33-year history, signed a Francophone act. Maybe the band’s magic springs from their ingenious hooks, their topaztinted vision. Maybe it’s the panache of Québec’s insurgent underground scene, or the camaraderie of Robert and Berthiaume, who have played together since they were 14. Maybe it’s their name - a hallway crossed with a toreador. Probably it’s all of these and none of them: ‘Junior’ is a joy, a hasty miracle, because it’s so much damn fun to listen to.