No Sinner’s “Boo Hoo Hoo” was a classic debut album experience from Vancouver’s powerhouse frontwoman Colleen Rennison. The sound of a young singer’s first foray into the rock’n’roll boys club. The result of years spent fronting cover bands with players 10 years her senior, writing with musicians more seasoned and eager to give direction. “Boo Hoo Hoo” was raucous, rowdy and filled with soul and danger. It was the sound of youth careening into the adventure of life with all the screaming tires and heartache yet to come down the road. It was the sound of a wild haired girl riding into the horizon on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle.
On “Old Habits Die Hard,” Colleen isn’t sitting on the back of the motorcycle anymore. She’s barrelling down the highway, her grip on the throttle, and you better believe you’re going to hear her coming from miles away.
There’s a reason behind the acclaim that met No Sinner following their debut release via Mascot Label Group. Classic Rock Magazine called Colleen, “an early contender for ball-breaking warrior princess of 2014″ and Blues & Soul wrote, “No Sinner are a super duper, great big fat, rare gem of a find.” Their teeth-gritted brand of blues and rock brought the young band to showcases at SXSW, European tours, performances on BBC Radio 2 and club shows with Reignwolf, Bass Drum of Death and Monster Truck. Noisey: Music ByVice exclaimed the band “oozes sex appeal.”
No Sinner isn’t Colleen’s first experience in the spotlight either. She pursued acting first, landing supporting roles in Sci-Fi shows and major Hollywood films starring such A-listers as Ray Liotta, Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis. But seizing the spotlight with a microphone never left her mind. It’s why Rennison would hold notes for far too long in music class, why she’d sing in the middle of a soccer field when she was supposed to keep someone from scoring, and why she ended up running away from boarding school and sneaking into open mic nights when she was 15.
Now, with all the experiences of the road, tour vans, cheap hotels and a hundred booze stained bars behind them, No Sinner is emerging as a fully realized rock’n’roll band with Colleen fearlessly at the helm.
On “Old Habits Die Hard” the band comes howling out of the gates. Screaming harmonica over a churning rhythm section set the pace on the track Leadfoot, as Colleen snarls “You are mine. For the taking.”
Colleen isn’t afraid to eschew the stereotypes behind being frontwoman either. “Janis Joplin and Etta James are such an easy comparison,” she explains, “but I’m doing Robert Plant up there too. Its a bit of an androgynous album—a rock ‘n’ roll odyssey through heartbreak and debauchery, good times and bad.”
It’s a theme that runs through the album. Blurring the lines between good and evil, man or woman, saint or sinner. No Sinner uses rock’n’roll to pummel through the walls of societal norms. As Colleen explains “I live and breathe rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a disease to want to push the envelope, to be an enemy to yourself at times, to want so much from the world that sometimes you can’t even stand to be in it. I never really felt like I belonged anywhere, and then I found the people that felt like me, that woke up every morning with a hole in their heart that can only be filled by music.”
“Old Habits Die Hard” is a more accurate portrayal of where Rennison’s head is at now than the songs on Boo Hoo Hoo. Or as she puts it, “It’s like the difference between your high school grad photo and your first mug shot.”
She brings it all home on the track “Saturday Night.” “Tell you once babe, I’ll tell you twice, I’ve got more to give than sugar and spice.”