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Arkells Campfire Chords Review

By Erica Gellert

Arkells released their album “Campfire Chords”, a collection of their greatest hits acoustically reimagined. In honour of that, I wrote a piece about my personal Arkells experience, which reads as one big mushy love letter. I’ve decided to embrace my passion for the Boys from the Hammer (my nickname for them, hoping it catches on) and you should too. It should be noted, this article pairs nicely with the latest stripped back album, and a beer.

My sister moved away from me, and in turn, Thunder Bay, in the summer of 2011. She was moving to Ottawa for University, so we settled her into a horribly small residence and hoped for the best. Her first week was an eventful one, apparently, so many people got drunk and peed in the elevator that they had their privileges revoked for the rest of the year. She lived on the eighth floor. More importantly, she saw this really cool band at Frosh Week. She demanded I look them up, so I did.

It’s wild to me that ARKELLS played at Carleton during Frosh Week. When I think of Frosh Week, I think of the time my college booked the guys from MTV’S “The Buried Life” to come “hang out” about seven years after they were popular. The bottom line, I’m not jealous of my very successful and beautiful sister often, but her Frosh Week is something I am in fact quite jealous of. I am able to set aside my jealousy, however, since I do have her to thank for introducing me to them in the first place. Since 2011, Arkells have been pretty busy. Releasing five albums, earning six Junos, performing for Team Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics- really casual and low-key stuff. (Kidding.)

More than lifetime achievements, I think the thing what draws people to Arkells the most is the genuine good-ol-boys-from-the-neighbourhood vibe they exude. Don’t get me wrong, they are absolute quality musicians, but that’s just a massive plus on top of the fact that they are just good guys. We want to party with them, sing along with them, sit around, and really consider “life” with them- you get it.

Circling back to the motivation behind this article- Campfire Chords. An album for the indie rock connoisseur and then some. Featuring hits such as Knocking at the Door, Years in the Making, 11:11, Leather Jacket, and their new single Quitting You- this is bound to be the soundtrack to ride out the final days of summer. After hearing Quitting You for the first time, I knew I had to announce to the world (or at least The Soundtrack) that I, as the kids say, stan, Arkells. As if a new single wasn’t enough, the “Quitting You” music video was an extra little treat. Set in a remote location on a friend’s private property, the boys got together and filmed the entire thing on an iPhone. Spoiler alert: they pull it off. Now all I want in life is to attend an Arkells Yurt show.

I’ll wrap it up by mentioning something that happened which truly demonstrates how cool and committed to their fans Arkells are. There was a person travelling across Canada who tweeted at the band suggesting they cheat the release of Campfire Chords for his road trip. Well after a series of exchanges, THESE FRIGGIN GUYS (Arkells) organized a drop-off of a burned copy of the latest album and even helped buddy get a last-minute CD player. You can view the full story on the Arkells Instagram page here.

Needless to say, if you give love to this band- I can guarantee they will give it right back. Campfire Chords is now available on Spotify and iTunes.


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