Since 2002, Sam Roberts Band have dominated the airwaves, selling out shows, and sharing the stage with legendary bands like AC/DC and The Rolling Stones. Known for their energetic live shows, this legendary band have earned spots performing everywhere from Letterman and Conan to Bonnaroo, ACL, Lollapalooza and Bumbershoot. While it's been a few years since the last Sam Roberts Band full-length album, that doesn't mean Roberts hasn't been keeping busy. He, alongside Chris Murphy (Sloan), Menno Versteeg (Hollerado) and Dave Monks (Tokyo Police Club) joined forces to create Canadian indie supergroup Anyway Gang and released their self-titled debut album last year. The release earned a #1 spot on the Canadian Alternative Charts and the #1 Socan award for the track "Big Night" (written by Roberts). Early in the pandemic, Roberts and his kids, under the name "The Isolation Jubilation Sensation" created a performance of "We're All In This Together" online to celebrate front line workers.
All Of Us arrives in the middle of a global pandemic. The album’s opener, “Wolf Tracks” immediately dumps us in the Covidian wilderness, socially distanced from the pack, scattered and alone. Where does the path lead? To a version of the abyss that holds promise? With “War Chest,” we are presented with the image of a place in which to store all the good stuff that happens to us, however ephemeral: lazy afternoons, a lover's laughter, sunlight. But why a war chest? With whom (or what) are we to engage in battle? Perhaps we are at war with both memory, which is always a lie, and forgetting, which is always a submission. Coming to terms with this unsolvable riddle requires a single ingredient: “Without love, where would we be?” asks Roberts.
On “Ascension,” a genuine arena-rock stomper, we arrive at the idea of self-love, and an ode to the power of perseverance — “you’re never too old to try,” Roberts insists. These are nice words to hear when you’re lying in the gutter looking up at the delicate contrails of an inter-continental ballistic missile. The song, like so much of the album, punches at the phantoms of loss that surround us as time leaves us behind.