Fri, Dec 13, 2013.
Halifax's premiere alt-couple return with their leanest yet, the duo of Seth Smith and Nancy Ulrich setting out 13 catchy guitar-pop songs. The structures are pretty straight-forward and rockin', until some guitar meltdown occurs, usually one break a song. Nothing's ever clean though, with low-fi, muffled vocals and a general flat crunch to the sound. Plus there are swaths of murky moodiness in behind, from the backwards tape played on In Another Life to some kind of spacey synth on Get High.
From the Joy Division bleakness of that last track, to the blustery boogie of Alone With You, there's a new tightness to the tunes, short and structured. Lurking Fear even has a Beatles-styled middle eight, and like all the tracks, the melody is easy to find. With lines such as "Paranoid delusions coming to fruition, waving to me, tugging my string and forever lurking", you can't mistake this for happy-go-lucky, but musically it's pretty darn close, until that drum freakout at the end. For those who can't and don't want to choose between the joys of pop and the lows of punk, welcome your flagbearers.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).