It always impresses me when a member of a music group has a side-gig or two that sound nothing like the band that they’re known for. Graham Wright is probably best known as the keyboardist in the Toronto-area Indie band Tokyo Police Club (if you aren’t aware of TPC you HAVE to check them out, they are one of my favorite bands); he is also the creative force between another great indie band, Girlfriend Material (GMAT) with his TPC bandmate Josh Hook, along with scene veterans Joseph Garand on bass and Jake Boyd on drums. On top of these ongoing projects, Wright is releasing a solo album, The Cost of Doing Business, on his own label Ray Cat Records on September 28, 2021.
This album is Wright’s second solo album. His first, Shirts vs. Skins was released just over 10 years ago. The 11 tracks on The Cost of Doing Business are a collection of fun, quirky songs that for the most part sound nothing like anything you’d hear from Tokyo Police Club or Girlfriend Material.
Wright has been playing with these songs in his “recording nook” for the past couple years as demos. He recruited his TPC bandmate Dave Monks to play bass along with drummer Adam Hindle to bring the album to life. The opening track, appropriately named “First Song,” articulates the doubt that I’m sure many artists feel; wondering if what they’re trying to say even matters to anyone else.
“Hot Damn!” is about discovering a new favorite band. In the song, Wright describes it as a band that is so good that it makes him question his own career as an artist. While not a musician myself (I can’t play any instruments nor am I a singer), I can relate because I have seen bands that have made me consider learning an instrument (until I remember my lack of talent) or at least learn more about the band.
The first track released from the album, “Bridget” is the only song from the effort that sounds vaguely like Girlfriend Material. With its electric guitar and slightly distorted vocals, it reminds me a lot of the song “Emily’s Famous” from GMAT’s Cool Car album.
One of the quirkiest songs on the album has to be “My Time Machine Worked.” A jazzy song with horns providing background to the adventures Wright “had” while jumping around the time continuum. Some things change, some things stayed the same. “Something Sweet” is the second pre-released single from the album is a really pretty song about someone going through a tough time, and Wright hoping that she finds some comfort, perhaps even by thinking about him.
Overall, The Cost of Doing Business shows that Wright has a number of tricks up his sleeve and has the talent and versatility to keep things fresh and continually put out new music that can appeal to a wide range of audiences.