thursday, march 31, 2011
the silhouette’s art & culture magazine • D11
featured review Protest the Hero Scurrilous
HHHH To casual listeners, Scurrilous will sound like the same masturbatory guitar flash that Whitby, ON’s Protest the Hero are infamous for. However, upon closer listening it instead reveals a band feeling more comfortable in their own shoes. While the technical aspect is as potent as ever, the riffs seem more thought out and restrained as opposed to merely overloading songs with gratuitous swept arpeggios. There is an overall greater attention to composition as song structure is noticeably more fluid, and eschews jarring and uncomfortable transitions plaguing their past work. Vocally, they ditch cheesy operatic moments and recall a sense of urgency reminiscent of their early material. Scurrilous is all together less heavy than previous work with almost no screaming and fewer palm-muted breakdowns. The band moves a step away from their metal contemporaries and deeper into progressive territory, making the listening experience even more rewarding than beating their song on expert in Guitar Hero. • Chris Hoy
Kurt Vile Smoke Ring For My Halo
Eliza Doolittle Self-Titled
The Good Lovelies Let The Rain Fall
The young Kurt Vile is back with his fourth and most impressive album. Smoke Ring represents Vile at his most mature, choosing to drop the lo-fi sound and his barrage of pedal effects. Instead, Vile is already sounding like he's aged by a decade since his last output, singing introspectively, "In my youth I was young and crazy/sure I didn’t know nothing but now I’m lazy." The album borrows heavily from the longstanding tradition of guitar rock funneled through the grunge of the ’90s, as Vile tips his hat to the likes of Tom Petty and Lou Reed equally. Tracks are filled out with a warm string accompaniment and the company of his on-and-off touring band, The Violators. Though almost thought impossible, Kurt Vile proves that he has something sonically enriching to add to musical tradition.
In the midst of the overly manufactured pop clichés that populate the Top 40 charts of today, Eliza Doolittle offers a fresh take on the classic bubblegum-infused genre. With pep in her step and soul in her songs, this English sensation offers an enthusiastic ensemble of bright melodies and charming. Light and fluffy as cotton candy, yet witty and clever in nature, each song is jam packed with jazzy hooks, quirky percussion and crisp, bouncy guitars. From swooning ballads, to energized and upbeat pop-rock explosions, Doolittle’s music echoes the sunny carefree nature of summer. Unfortunately, when listened to as a whole, the album tends to start lagging somewhere around the halfway mark, as the swarms of sunny songs start to lose their appeal amongst a sea of sugary sameness. However, each song is wonderfully unique and will get just about anyone snapping their fingers and tapping their toes.
Music, like a fine whiskey or wine, often takes years to come into full, rich flavour. Toronto-based songstresses The Good Lovelies’ latest album, Let The Rain Fall, is no exception. The group, which honed their sound during a decade of obscure musical projects like The Barmitzvah Brothers, presents listeners with a vibrant blend of Americana folk. Just as they did on their 2009 release, Under The Mistletoe, The Good Lovelies continue to blend timeless vocal harmonies with vibrant and traditional folk stores that feel as if they could have been borrowed from The Great American Songbook. With a sound that is remniscient of Norah Jones, Neko Case, and The Secret Sisters, this record is a perfect disc to study or relax to.
• Corrigan Hammond