Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs are a power pop band from Toronto. Formed by Coffey, a former mechanic's apprentice from Kitchener, Ontario, with it's members collected from various Ontario small towns, they rapidly ingratiated themselves with Toronto's punk scene. They released a stream of singles before signing to Oakland punk/garage label Southpaw Records (Ty Segall, Young Guv), for their Gates of Hell LP, which received praise from outlets like Pitchfork, Spin and Noisey, and saw the band tour extensively, playing with Red Kross, Black Lips and Screaming Females, and becoming regulars in DIY scenes up and down the East Coast.
For their follow up, a self-titled LP that will be released on Burger and Dine Alone Records, the band sought to build upon the lo-fi aesthetic of their earlier releases and push themselves beyond their garage roots. They began working with producer Alex Bonenfant (METZ, Crystal Castles), who brought them into a proper studio for the first time, and they embraced their abiding love for, and near encyclopedic knowledge of 70's power pop, in the process honing a potent brand of guitar music that draws influence from a broad swath of the genre's history.
It's a sound that at once revels in a rough and anarchic feel, best exemplified by Coffey's untamed wail of a singing voice, while displaying a deft approach to songwriting and arrangement, collecting and repurposing ideas gathered from bands like Cheap Trick, Dwight Twilley, Teenage Fanclub, The Cars, Thin Lizzy, The Undertones, and The Exploding Hearts, in the service of songs about teenage isolation, petty criminality and escape, rooted in an unshakeable faith in honesty, love and the transformative powers of pop music.
It's an ambitious record, and one where obvious care has been taken to refine every element of the finished product, but it's an ambition that even on the 9+ minute epic medley that makes up much of the record's second side, never edges into pretension or obscures the band's irrepressible enthusiasm. Despite their maturation this is still, as Pitchfork's Evan Minsker said of their previous release, "the sound of dirtbags having fun and falling in love."