Thursday, November 16, 2023


Canadian Rock Band Heatstroke Unveils “Times Square Claire” from their debut LP, Empire Statement


By Myescha Joell

Canadian rock band Heatstroke releases their new single, “Times Square Claire,” following a young man who confuses lust for love. This track marks a pivotal chapter within the band’s debut album, Empire Statement. While most of Heatstroke's music is reminiscent of classic rock, this new single stands apart, emanating an undeniable pop sensibility. The rich vocals over the straightforward verse-chorus-verse structure make this a standout entry in their catalog. With catchy hooks and an infectious groove, “Times Square Claire” showcases Heatstroke's versatility and ability to captivate a broader audience while retaining their signature sound.

“We all come from different backgrounds in terms of what we like musically, so we have influences of punk, hard rock, and some of that classic Led Zeppelin style,” shared lead singer Orion Anderson. 

Empire Statement is a concept album about a boy named Jacey Finn growing up in Brownsville, NY, in the '70s & '80s. Despite the pull of poverty, he finds a way to escape and improve his life. Over the course of eleven songs, Jacey's life story unfolds. “Times Square Claire” is the fifth track on this album, and at this point in the narrative, Jacey is fifteen years old, and the year is 1980. He’s hanging out in Times Square when he meets Claire. She's a prostitute, but he’s too naïve to realize it. They fall in love and create a whole new life.   

“While every album may not be a concept album, storytelling is paramount for us, agreed all members of Heatstroke. “After all, a song is only as strong as what you have to say.”

Tonally, the album is a true blast from the past and an indicator of Heatstroke’s style of music. New listeners might think they're hearing something from the seventies or eighties, but the band only formed in October 2021. It was an organic connection. Troy Kirkwood (drummer) and Orion Anderson (lead singer) met in high school. Hunter Larabie (bass) and Anderson met while working at a clothing store, and Daniel Beaton (guitarist) met Anderson in college. 

“We are also really excited for listeners response to ‘Broadway’ and ‘Central Park,’” shared drummer Troy Kirkwood. 

“Broadway” and “Times Square Claire” take place on the same night. Written by Kirkwood, the melody of “Broadway” came to him in a dream paired with the concept of what it means to be a “big shot.” Instead of paying for a ticket to a Broadway show Jacey sneaks into the theater and discovers he has a lot in common with the lead. He leaves, deciding he will try to go about business the right way. 

“Central Park” wraps up the story and is more of a love song. There is no set year for “Central Park,” but it’s clear that a significant amount of time has passed, and something has caused Jacey and Claire to separate – the band agrees it may be ‘91 or ’92. “Central Park” is Jacey’s letter to Claire as if they were still together; however, it is only a moment of nostalgia. In the end, Jacey is alone.  

“Sail Me Away” stands apart as Beaton wrote the song before joining the band. So, it wasn’t initially related to the story. However, the song - Is all about the hero’s journey and fits seamlessly into the larger narrative within Empire Statement. It provides an open ending to the album and is up to the listeners to interpret the meaning.

Besides Heatstroke's collective talent, the band also credits Le Shed studio manager Brent Wohlberg for the success of their debut album. They have also recently gained notoriety in their hometown of Sudbury, Canada, having won local band competitions and receiving the invite to play at festivals in the surrounding area, including the Northern Lights Festival Boréal this past July. 

On October 20th, Heatstroke will drop the full album. In celebration, the band will grace the stage at The Lounge, a local Sudbury bar, delivering a full playthrough of their new body of work. Stay connected with Heatstroke on their website and across all platforms for new music, videos, appearances, and tour dates.

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