Prog Rock / Psych-Rock / Rock

Taverne Tour Day 2: Population II is Exploding at the Seams

par Lyle Hendriks

I’ve had the chance to see Population II a number of times now, and they have never once failed to be completely exceptional. The Montreal-based psych-rock three-piece is, to me, the definition of doing a lot with a little. Demonstrating that the classic set-up of guitar, bass, and drums is only as restrictive as you want it to be. Indeed, Population II seems to thrive within these apparent limitations (with the help of the occasional synth part), popping out and bursting at the seams like an overstuffed suitcase of face-melting riffs, pungent basslines, and unbelievable percussion.

One of the most impressive aspects of Population II is their drummer and vocalist, Pierre-Luc Gratton. His voice is perfect for the project, with an insistent, almost indignant singing tone reminiscent of King Gizzard. His drumming is also a bonafide phenomenon, with so much technical skill and sophistication that it begins to look freeform and naive, like a bullet train that’s about to rattle right off the rails. But what brings Population II its energy and irresistible urgency is the fact that he does both of these things simultaneously, his entire body and soul engaged in a frantic bloodletting of what I can only assume are his deepest, darkest demons. And when Gratton swings the mic out of his way and gears up for an instrumental break, you know you’re about to get blown right off your feet.

New rule for Montreal-ers: you never, under any circumstances, miss a Population II show.

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