Only John K. Samson, Canada’s punk poet laureate, would title a song ‘Longitudinal Centre’. Longitudinal is not a word oft thrown around in pop music. Much of what Samson can and does do lyrically is not oft thrown around in pop music. Samson is, arguably, Canada’s best lyricist and Provincial is proof.
‘The Last And’ is particularly staggering: a song about the end of an affair between a lonely teacher and her married principle. “The last conjunction after every other and, I was just your little ampersand.” Heartbreak captured perfectly in punctuation. On the gorgeous duet with Christine Fellows, ‘Taps Reversed’, Samson perfectly illustrates the ridiculousness of our over-scheduled, obsessively anonymous, lives: “The calendar requests a meeting to discuss the time we waste. When would be good for you?”—Samson and Fellows half joke but there is also a terrifying honesty to these simple jokes. ‘Taps Reversed’ also holds as the album’s true stunner. Fellows’ contribution eloquently compliments Samson’s prose and each song on Provincial is a glimpse into 12 perfect human lives.