Every new year sparks a hope for a fresh start, something bold and new.

That’s all good and fine, but no one, in their right mind, could have guessed it would start with such a trajectory as that laid out by Canadian alt-rockers July Talk.

Stepping into their second decade as a band, with a healthy dose of prior releases to sink your teeth into, the double-the-flavor-double-the-fun sounds of Leah Fay Goldstein, Peter Dreimanis, Ian Docherty, Josh Warburton, Danny Miles, and Dani Nash unapologetically shift with the release of their fourth studio album Remember Never Before.

As billed, “the essence of July Talk has always been the tension between precision and chaos.” The term essence is defined as a determination of character and Remember Never Before has plenty.

Scathing rock components, attached to a dual-vocal front, anchored by fever-pitched guitar accompaniments and finger-licking rhythms. From throwback vibes kicking off the record in “After This” to the basement jam vibes of “I Am Water,” all eleven tracks flourish in a sonically robust journey full of twists and turns around every break. Taking the title from “Twenty Four Hours,” Remember Never Before quickly establishes itself as a dynamically more present and rich exploration of July Talk that leans confidently into the duality of their existence. This is the record and sound that so many early 00’s sounds tried to be. With mesmerizing strokes, it is a welcome 2023 sound. The commanding compositions are only upstaged by the compliments of the whole, which pivot on attitude and confidence strutting most prominently in “Hold.” Sneering vocals take hold of you by the collar with Dreimanis’ brooding sense presence while Goldstein lifts you above the clouds with her airy prowess. But this isn’t another conversation of a band with great leads, because for every memorable vocal there is an equally vital and rich layer of musicianship poured into each track from Docherty, Warburton, Miles, and Nash which build into a dizzying display of fantastic rock.

July Talk’s Remember Never Before departs the, in retrospect, subdued, but wholly worthy, sounds of 2020’s Pray for It and 2016’s Touch before it. It thrives in taking chances throughout. July Talk doesn’t just stake a claim to the beginning of 2023 to kick off the year on the right foot, they may have set the standard of expectation for it.