Editors' Notes Since their 2008 debut, Hamilton, Ontario, quintet Arkells have pursued a go-big-or-go-home philosophy that’s become manifest in their stylistically omnivorous classic-rock/modern-pop hybrids and an expanded onstage revue complete with brass section and backing singers. But as the world entered hibernation mode during the COVID-scarred spring of 2020, Arkells shelved their plans to make a new album and retreated to their bedrooms to piece together these acoustic reinterpretations of their biggest anthems. Of course, even in stripped-down mode, Arkells can still sound huge—with their supporting vocal troupe, the Arkettes, in tow, the urgent 2011 radio hit “Whistleblower” is transformed into a dramatic dustbowl stomp that recalls Fleetwood Mac's classic “The Chain.” But their swinging sing-along “Leather Jacket” assumes a more achingly melancholic tone in this pedal-steeled treatment, while the collection’s lone new track, “Qutting You,” is a sombre, fiddle-sweetened expression of social-distancing blues with a comforting group chorus that feels like a shoulder rub.

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3:55
 
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