By 1973, The Guess Who were mostly on the wane, certainly as a commercial force. Randy Bachman was long gone, and what had been a outfit that couldn’t seem to help cranking out the hits now seemed more interested in just being an improper rock ‘n’ roll band, drinking and drugging and whoring around. Which doesn’t mean the music was dead – you just weren’t hearing it that much on the radio anymore. Musicione for instance. A smart rocker with a loose jammed-out feel that ends up feeling like a hymn toward something or other. Who makes the music when you die? Somebody else, obviously.
Ian and Sylvia being the Tysons (husband and wife) and that rarity among Canadian artists of their era – they made it before government-imposed radio play quotas became a thing. “Special thanks to my friend Andrew’s mom, because she was the only parent I knew who seemed to generally care about music, and thus had a few decent records. Nothing heavy mind you – just good solid easy-to-listen-to options like Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Diamond, Moody Blues, and more obscure stuff, which Andrew and I spent many hours exploring – both of us still young and fresh enough to dig something even if it wasn’t driven by heavy guitars and appeals to Satan.” (Philip Random)
“In which Canada’s The Guess Who, on the verge of genuine BIGness (they’d be outselling the Beatles in 1970), smell the wheat and get cosmic, reference the Bible and otherwise lay down the elusive truth for all god’s children. Seriously, note the title. It’s not The Key, but simply, significantly, psychedelically KEY.” (Philip Random)
It’s 1972 and Gordon Lightfoot, Canada’s greatest ever upright (but never uptight) baritone folkie, is standing tall amid the wasteland of stoned hippies and corrupt elders that defined the times, tilting diligently at windmills as nobility demanded. Because somebody had to do it.
Chilliwack being a band straight outa Chilliwack, which also happened to be the name of not just their debut album, but also its sprawling double vinyl 1971 follow up, the second half of which spaces out in all manner of strange ways, the first half of which is not afraid to rock, with Eat being the sort of nugget that would still sound strong in pretty much any garage, the world over.