There's nothing I can say.
Something for All of Us…
Broken Social Scene Presents: Brendan Canning
July 22, 2008
Broken Social Scene (BSS) co-founder Brendan Canning’s Something for All of Us… is the second album in the “Broken Social Scene Presents:” series (the first being fellow BSS member Kevin Drew’s 2007 Spirit If…), and it does not disappoint at all. Both “solo” albums may inevitably draw some similarities sound-wise – perhaps they do sound somewhat BSS “lite” (after all, you can take the man out of the band, but not the band out of the man) – but each injected their own unique style and quirks, enough to make the albums individually and confidently stand out on their own.
The first few tracks to Something for All of Us… seem to have the words glorious and grandiose written all over it (the title track, “Hit the Wall”) – but strangely enough, as loud as some of the tracks may sound, they do not quite overwhelm. Rather, it makes your insides tingle deliciously, whetting your appetite as you brace yourself for the rest of the tunes to come, including the funky, 80s-tinged “Love is New”, the gentle, acoustic-like “Snowballs and Icicles”, and the only instrumental track “All the Best Wooden Toys Come From Germany”.
Beautiful moments are when the signature BSS horns and lush keyboard sounds come into play, notably in the form of the melancholic “Been At It for So Long” – it brings to mind the supergroup’s massive hit “Lover’s Spit” – as Canning’s vocals, when complemented with a fellow female BSS member’s, threaten to make you want to stand up, grab a glowstick, and wave it in the air, as if it were the last song to be performed in a concert that will eventually end with strangers turning around to give each other bear hugs and corny save-the-world messages.
(… okay, maybe not so. Maybe that was how I thought the BSS concert I attended should end with, if the last song they played was indeed “Lover’s Spit”, but ah well.)
And so, there should be something for all in this album.
Oceans Will Rise, The Stills
August 19, 2008
For Montreal band The Stills, third album Oceans Will Rise marks a return to form (well, almost!) after their somewhat dull sophomore effort, Without Feathers, failed to live up to expectations. (Then again, perhaps it was their brilliant debut Logic Will Break Your Heart that had, unfortunately, set the stakes a wee bit too high… I have fond memories of it as it was one of my favourite albums.)
The Stills still have this dark, mysterious air wrapped about their songs, no matter how loud they can be. Admittedly, while only a handful of tracks in this album can be singled out as true standouts, some do emerge as strong favourites in their own right, with infectious guitar hooks and catchy tunes – such as album opener “Don’t Talk Down”, “Hands on Fire” and “Dinosaurs”.
After such energetic, anthemic sing-along tracks, the album comes to a gentle end with “Statue of Sirens”. This seems in stark contrast with the rest of the tracks in the album (after about forty minutes of various banging and clanging), but surprisingly, it works well as a closer and is easier on the ears.
One track that I cannot get enough of, however, is the absolutely wonderful “Snow in California”, which has lyrics fit for a pessimist, but (ironically) with sounds best reserved for a cool summer’s day. It hits the right notes at all the right places, and is fast becoming one of my favourite Stills track of all time.
Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
June 3, 2008
I think I have to admit this: the only reason I chose to include Fleet Foxes’ self-titled album here is because of the gorgeous “White Winter Hymnal”. And “Quiet Houses”. And those sweeping melodies, stirring harmonies, and interesting instrumentation. And that they remind me of Grizzly Bear. It is also otherwise a bit too folksy for me, but there! That should explain it, I hope.
Other upcoming releases for 2008:
The Dears, Doves, Franz Ferdinand, David Gray, Keane, The Killers, Morrissey, Snow Patrol, Travis. See Metacritic’s release calendar here.