Mon, Mar 17, 2014.
Fredericton's soft and beautiful Symphonium return to wash over us again, as always a breath of fresh air. There's always a hint of mystery amid the luxurious soundscapes, an other-worldly layer, behind the sweet vocals and echoed steel. This time out, producer Joshua Van Tassel adds to the sounds, with more texture and sonic tricks, making the tunes that much richer, and a little more lush. There's more percussion, but not the crashy-bang stuff, the shuffle, cymbal swashes and brushes type.
The band steps out of its typical style some as well. Home is perhaps the group's most country effort, or make that country and western, because it has the feel of the wide-open prairie. The group vocals and harmonies sound better than ever, warmer and close-up, in front of the echo. Since they are such fine singers, I'm all in favour of that. Elsewhere their usual hypnotic lyrics add to the grace and ease of the songs, lulling us with lines such as "until the colours come back on some colourful day." That stuff just flows over you. It's far from hearts and flowers though; All In Your Head features the lines, "So take the Bibles, throw them out the window, and take the records, set them on fire, and burn the records dead." Not this record, boys. I'm keeping it.
Chance To Fate is available as of Tuesday, March 18. The group will launch the album at the East Coast Music Week in Charlottetown the first week of April, and then start a tour of eastern Canada and New England, before getting back home to do some N.B. shows. They'll be in Saint John, May 1, at Park Ave. United Church, May 2 in Fredericton at Wilmot United, and then at Paddlefest in St. Andrews May 16.
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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).