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More Greatness From North Of The Border

Do Make Say Think

When I first heard the album by this group, I was immediately reminded of Tortoise's Millions Now Living Will Never Die. Really, I think for anyone who has heard both releases, the comparison is inevitable. There's that same post-rock feeling of stretched-out unhurried songs that remind me of one another in a very good way. Released on the same label that puts out the vinyl by Godspeed You Black Emperor, it's yet another long album of smooth sailing rock melding with bits of electronic tomfoolery (and it has amazing packaging to boot).

The disc starts out with the ten-minute track "1978." After a sample of an airplane taking off (or landing, I'm not sure), a repetitive bassline comes into play along with ever-building drums. Some guitar feedback starts drifting in and out over the mix before in culminates in a blast of feedback before dropping off again into another mellow segment of drum and bass. The song snakes its way through several different iterations of this same formula, but never manages to sound tired due to the methodical pacing and insertion of other gadgetry. The second track "Le'espalace" leads in with some warbling analogue synth noises before a lonely guitar starts in a lonely strum. Eventually, two guitars begin to cross paths and play off one another while a drone of feedback provides a smooth backdrop and the analogue squiggle sneaks back in several times. "If I Only..." sounds like it could be the shimmering sequel to Tortoise's "Glass Museum" off their aforementioned album with it's methodical pacing and plunking little keyboards. "Highway 420" starts out as a drone number, but soon picks up with building drums and bass and cracks off into a dreary spaghetti-western number with very slight saxophones.

The album picks up the most that it ever does on the following tracks "Dr. Hooch" and "Disco and Haze." Both numbers start out on the fairly mellow end, but build up drumming to quite a punching level as well as swirl on the guitar feedback. The first of the two gives off more of a sly back alley feel, while the second dabbles more into psychadelia and noise. Both work well. The seventh track "Onions" is nothing more than a 2-minute filler before the group goes into the nearly 20-minute finale "The Fare To Get There." As one might guess from the length of the track, it takes awhile to get going, but the group still manages to keep things interesting with a flute and some crackling noises. Eventually, some minimal drumming and echoed-out guitar make their way into the mix and play off one another for awhile. The track drifts along at the same pace for nearly the same track, but again the group manages to keep things interesting with lots of different instrumentation (including what sounds like an section played with kitchen utensils). It's a drifting, mellow piece that might lull you off to sleep, but I'm all for it.

Overall, it's a great post rock offering from a lesser-known group and label. Although they don't sound completely similar, I think that if you're interested in Tortoise, you'll probably really like this group. None of the tracks completely rock out, but there's definitely a knack for combining organic and electronic instruments in slowly progressing, catchy music. Is Canada the new indie hot-spot?

Rating: 7.25