Thursday, June 13, 2013

Royal Canoe: "Today We're Believers" (album review)

With the splintering of the music scene into seemingly thousands of little micro-genres, it's becoming more and more difficult to compare or lump bands together.  One that defies all characterization is Winnipeg's Royal Canoe.

That having been said, it's time now to characterize their forthcoming debut full length, Today We're Believers, which comes out on June 25th.

The sextet has amalgamated an bizarre string of influences: art rock, R&B, folk, pop, soul, and come out with a concoction that sounds better than one could ever imagine.  For instance, "Just Enough" is experimental art rock in the mold of Dirty Projectors, with a touch more pop sensibility.

The ratcheting and clanking on "Stemming" make it sound like a modernization of the Modern Times score, until the shocking voicebox effect kicks in.  A robotic theme is present on the title track as well, which settles quickly into a mechanized groove.

Atmosphere plays a large role on Today We're Believers as well.  "Hold On To the Metal" makes the listener feel submerged, with water dripping down above you.  There's a creepy swoon to "Nightcrawlin".

The strangest elements are the R&B and soul.  Smooth beats and indie rock collide on "Button Fumbla", a track that may inspire an entire 'indie geek soul' genre to sprout up.  The album's closer, "If I Had a House", tops a slashing arrangement with vocals worthy of Prince.

The low point on the record is "Light".  The album's penultimate track is scattergun gibberish.

If you're looking to fill your summer with a record that sounds unlike anything else you've heard, then Today We're Believers may be exactly what you're looking for.

Best tracks: "If I Had a House", "Hold On To the Metal"

Track listing for Today We're Believers:
  • Today We're Believers
  • Hold On To the Metal
  • Just Enough
  • Exodus of the Year
  • Bathtubs
  • Button Fumbla
  • Show Me Your Eyes
  • Birthday
  • Nightcrawlin
  • Stemming
  • If I Had a House

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