April 22, 2019
A review of Richard Garvey’s upcoming album, You Can’t Just Assume Everyone Wants to Have Sex With You. Clara Montgomery / Spoke News.

It’s not often that I meet a musician before I know they’re a musician and they give me one of their albums and I listen to it and love it. In fact, this has never happened to me before, until a couple of weeks ago, when I visited Together We’re Bitter Brewery in Kitchener, Ont., for an unrelated interview with one of the employees there.

Richard Garvey is an event coordinator with the brewery and arranges artists to perform there. He’s also a talented “guitar-strumming, banjo-plucking and sing-along-starting” performer, according to his website.

Richard Garvey, a musician from Durham, Ont. Photo courtesy of Richard Garvey.

Based on the album he gave me, You Can’t Just Assume Everyone Wants to Have Sex With You, it’s true.

This album is set to be officially released on April 1, kicking off a tour that will include Ontario, Quebec and B.C.

Garvey’s former band name and, in his words, sort of his philosophy, is Far From Rich.

He described this album as being a collection of “consensual, art-folk singalongs.”

“I’m really proud of this album,” he said. “I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s lively, it’s important and relevant. It took a lot of work.”

Garvey worked with 12 different musicians on the album, which was entirely self-funded.

Intrigued by his description of the album and the title, I popped it into my car stereo as soon as I left TWB.

The songs on You Can’t Just Assume Everyone Wants to Have Sex With You reminds me of bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Said the Whale and some of AJJ’s acoustic stuff. With a robust horn section reminiscent of a Mardi Gras brass band and layers of many more instruments working together with Garvey’s smooth vocals, this album is warm and easy to get into.

The first song has the same title as the album and cheerfully and hilariously introduces listeners to what I can only describe as being a beautiful, silly and exciting journey in music. This song starts with “I’m a clumsy lover, yeah, I make a lot of mistakes. Not just in the bedroom, but all along the way. So you can’t just assume everyone wants to have sex with you,” so you can imagine that it was impossible for me to not start smiling and just know that I was going to love the whole thing.

Calling this album lively and fun is an understatement.

Some songs are a little more jazzy and upbeat sounding; some slow and saturated with emotion. All together, the whole thing truly is art.

Having a penchant for sad, emotional ballads myself, my favourite song on the album is probably Blue Skies. However, Guess I Ain’t Going Nowhere is a close second, with its bright and happy sounding instruments, while the lyrics tell a tale of bad luck, irony and a little bit of optimism.

Garvey told me the story behind Guess I Ain’t Going Nowhere while he applied labels to beer bottles at the brewery.

“All the songs, even the really silly ones, come from hard lessons learned. Guess I Ain’t Going Nowhere is a song I wrote after I tried to record this album in New Orleans two and a half years ago and got rejected at the border. They thought I was trying to play gigs in the States and I wasn’t; I was just going down there to record and go to a conference. None of it was paid — I was spending a lot of money, actually. That was a big lesson and the song’s really fun and lively and silly.”

The album ends with another upbeat song called Take Care of Yourself Well Lover, Take Care of Yourself Well Friend. This song feels like a lovely farewell to the listener and just seems so perfect as the final song. It even features lyrics with a shout out to Kitchener.

This is the kind of musical work that I just want to show to everyone I know, because it’s so unique and I thoroughly enjoyed it immediately. Sometimes a band that I already know about and enjoy will release an album and I have to listen to it a few times to fully appreciate or even like some of the songs on it. This was not the case with You Can’t Just Assume Everyone Wants to Have Sex With You. The first full listen-through, I knew that I had to review it.

I have a passion for supporting local, Canadian music and this album by Durham, Ont., native Garvey is something I can very proudly say that I adored.

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