Olaf Alders and Andrew Vanhorn are Canadian musicians with ambitions to reach out beyond the Ontario circuits that have heard their stuff so far.
Their songs are efficient and convincing enough for local audiences. They play with energy and a sense of purpose in an upbeat cheerful and community spirited kind of way. It’s quirky-ish. Their Ice Hockey song pokes gentle fun at Canadian no-brain athletes with smelly hockey shirts and the album's title expresses the full subtlety of their socio-sexual politics.
"Here’s To You" muses on drinking's false promises of intimacy and "Everywhere" picks its standard guitar steps towards awareness of how far misplaced expectations can be let down by real life encounters. "No Regrets" starts boldly with the observation that "Well I can only write what I know" and I feel a slight sigh of regret that young men need to keep rediscovering the basic truths and recasting them as folk rock songs before they have checked the accumulated thousands who have been there before with better tunes.
The eleven tracks are played well enough. The drumming is full square and steady with little variation from track to track. The voices find and keep the slightly memorable tunes. Guitars and bass do what guitars and bass do in any well rehearsed band. There's a little banjo thrown in. It isn’t that VILE RICHARD aren’t any good, or that they don't write coherent and economical songs. As a reviewer I just have to come to terms with a world where extraordinary creative talent is bursting out of thousands of cities across the world and getting a chance to compete with WILCO or BARENAKED LADIES is only going to be given to one or two very special bands. VILE RICHARD, as represented on this album are less special than they need to be to get the job.
"How To Find And Fascinate A Mistress" is mainstream-sounding, slightly alt-country music with little to commend itself to specialist audiences, and quite a long way to go before the imagination of the general public might be stirred. I would like to be able to write something more encouraging, but the best I can do would be to suggest that if VILE RICHARD had much better tunes, with more incisively witty lyrics, the musicianship would make them stand up and grab your attention.