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Yet Another Good Canadian Band

The Beans
Tired Snow EP
(Zum Media)

When I first saw some press statements for this group, they had comparisons to Sigur Ros and Godspeed You Black Emperor in them. My interest was piqued at the mention and I snagged it up quickly without doing much more research at all about the Vancouver-based band. Imagine my surprise when I popped in the 40-minute, 6 song release and didn't really find many elements of either of the above-mentioned bands.

Of course, I'm not saying I'm dissapointed, either. The Beans are a solid band in their own right and while there are a few things that could perhaps tie them to GYBE, I also find that the group has some things in common with Do Make Say Think and even Hungry Ghosts. The relatively young band has released only one other disc to this point (a semi-scarce full-length debut called Portage), but this is the sound of a relatively (if a bit unfocused) comfortable-in-their-sound band.

The disc opens up with the album-titled track of "Tired Snow" and it sways along with some dreary guitar and bass while lazy drums guide things. The whole thing drifts along in some radio static before a sample from an interview with the band (explaining their sound) comes in. It's self-referencial and could be viewed as a move of pretense if you couldn't hear them laughing a couple different times. Toward the end of the song, one guitar is possessed by Morriconne while the other one lays down a nice bed of feedback. The second track "Miko" is a more minimal one with a sort of treated piano and some simple guitar work while "Dark Cave At Creek" (the only one with vocals) sounds like a southern-gothic version of Calexico.

While all the other tracks are pretty solid as well, the final, epic-length track of "Alpaca Llama" is the album standout. After introducing the track with some dry humour, the group works a nice groove for awhile before drifting off a bit into some ambience. After awhile, the drumming slowly makes its way back into things and the guitar goes from trippy to focused before an almost hip-hop beat drops in and the guitars strum some nice melodies over them before they build into a shimmering wall of lovely noise. Overall, it's a solid little release, and a cheap one at that. In other words, it's some good stuff, and I imagine that if you like any of the above bands, you'll find something to enjoy in this release. Just don't go in with expectations of a certain sound and you'll be fine.

Rating: 7