“One would be hard-pressed to find music more melodic and lyrics more wistful than that of the Ethics” – Adrian Harewood CBC Radio
“Getting people moving, while keeping them thinking is The Ethics’ perfect balance, slowly achieved.” – Ottawa Citizen
“The Ethics and The Soirée — two bands that define the Ottawa sound, if there ever was one…” – Ottawa Magazine
“The Ethics are another local band getting a good buzz these days due to their excellent April 2009 sophomore disc ‘At Cities’ End’. They played at the Live Lounge as part of the club portion of the Bluesfest Byward festival. They are a quiet-ish 4-piece rock band (joined by Poorfolk’s Jonathan Pearce at times throughout this show). The songwriters have a real gift for melody – Five days later it’s still very hard to knock the 2007 song ‘On The 1’ out of my head – I can hear some echoes of the serious but fun Gordon-era Barenaked Ladies songs, and I mean that in the best way possible – the harmonies, the delicate brushes on the drums (on the album), the acoustic guitars with electric accents, the intelligible vocals, the lyrics. They are another band in a long line of local Ottawa talent that has really impressed decent-sized crowds at various Bluesfest venues throughout the festival. Word is The Ethics will be playing more Ottawa gigs in the fall…” – Jambands – Online Review by Alan Dodson
“These talented locals put out their second album, At Cities’ End, earlier this year. Their music has been gathering more attention lately – and deservedly so – but they’re especially known for putting on a killer live show, complementing their energetic stage presence with an impeccable sense of style.” – Apt. 613 (‘3 Acts Not to Miss’ at Ottawa Bluesfest)
The Ethics add Grooving to Yearning
The Ottawa Citizen/ Fateema Sayani, April 16, 2009
With album No. 2, The Ethics shake off a bit of the achy yearning they dispatched on their 2007 debut, Even the Stars. That album was dreamy and ponderous with tender tones.
The Ottawa quartet’s new album, called At Cities’ End, is all that too, but it also finds its groove in places. “I find this one hits harder,” songwriter Kevin Hersak says. “There’s a lot more texture and a playfulness even. That was something that may have been missing on the first album. People may have thought we were really serious guys and sad and lonely — and we are, but we can also have fun on an album.”
The proof can be heard on two tracks. Take It All The Way and Looking Everywhere add levity. Hey, they might even get people dancing. It’s a reprieve from the mind-melter, headphone-ideal lyrics of the other tracks.
Hersak’s urban preoccupation is the album’s thread — big-city alienation and the anxiety of anonymity are apparent. That starkness is set against the thoughtful arrangements and resourceful percussion (children’s toys, bowls of water, a mandolin strummed with a pencil). Hersak and band mates Jeff Gleeson (guitar), Paul Ross (drums, he also produced the album), and Matt Arnold (bass, also of The Soiree) show there is romanticism and beauty in all that social decay.
The Ethics are endearingly serious. Frontman Hersak is unassuming and that gentility extends to his vocal delivery. Complex arrangements prop up those carefully crafted verses, sung just above a whisper. In a live setting, the band — outfitted in unifying sport coats and gleaming guitar straps — has more attitude and edge.
They hope to equalize that energy with the thoughtful intrigue they’ve cultivated over the past three years. Getting people moving, while keeping them thinking is The Ethics’ perfect balance, slowly achieved.
The Ethics play Babylon, 317 Bank St., 9 p.m. Friday with B.W. Brandes and Meredith Luce & The Mandates, $10.
Concert Review : The Urban Aesthetics, Broadcast Radio, The Ethics
Ottawa XPress/Steve McGill, March 26, 2009
Up next was Ottawa group The Ethics, returning to the live stage after finishing recording their new album At Cities’ End. The band played extremely well together, the chemistry of the four-piece extremely evident on stage. They were also joined occasionally by a 5th member on acoustic guitar. Singer Kevin Hersak’s voice could be a dead ringer for Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and the band musically owed lots to Canadian indie groups like Broken Social Scene. They filled out their 40-minute set with material both old and new and by the time they finished they had definitely generated interest for their new album.