An unlikely mix of musical ingredients comes together in Edmonton band Passenger Action’s self-titled debut. The signature tight, rapid drumming of classic punk can be heard right away in opener “Tonight We Resonate,” but metal-style tempo changes and syncopation really kept me guessing.
Inconsistent volume in the vocals mix was at first off-putting, but after a quick equalizer fix, intelligent lyrics worthy of multiple listens emerged. Equally, if not more, mesmerizing is the instrumentation. Punk rock is fused with punchy tech sounds, as song after song managed to be both richly atmospheric and hard-hitting. Parts of tracks like “Absent Minds” could be slipped right into a DJ set at Piknic Electronik. Songs flowed together in true mixing style on an album with a coherence rarely seen on recent releases. Textures, colours and flavours of sound are all on point here. Passenger Action is sushi for the ears.
Sights & Sounds
Monolith is Sights & Sounds’ first full-length album and it looks like the band, formed in 2006, is still struggling to find their sound.
When Sights & Sounds embrace their post-hardcore side on tracks like “Storm and the Sun” and “Neighbours,” the results aren’t pretty. The song intros are way too long and Andrew Neufeld’s raspy vocals quickly become irritating. The songs would be great to headbang to, if only the beats weren’t confusing and constantly changing.
The band experiments with a softer but more effective sound on songs like “Pedal Against the Wind.” The melodies here are considerably easier on the ears than harder tracks and could easily be listened to on repeat.
Individually, Sights & Sounds are talented musicians. Sadly, for most of the tracks on Monolith, the combination of Neufeld’s overly aggressive vocals and equally aggressive instruments sounds less like music and more like a whole lot of noise.
—Lesley De Marinis
Kyra and Tully
Wildlife (in and out of the city)
Kyra and Tully’s music is humble, honest and quite lovely to listen to. The Kingston couple’s newest exudes a nomadic and outdoorsy feel perfect for an early morning stroll or a lazy evening spent on the porch. The album features an impressive instrumental repertoire for a folksy twosome, with cello, banjo, mandolin, violin, glockenspiel and piano all making appearances.
The songs melt together, the music flowing smoothly from one track to another until—what the fuck?!—track 12 happens. The thing is, Kyra isn’t on it. Neither is Tully. No, track 12 features the squealings of what sounds like a tone-deaf four-year-old child. This gives anyone in the vicinity no choice but to immediately cease all activity and launch themselves desperately at the stop button of whatever device happens to be expelling these awful sounds. Yes, it is that bad.
That being said, don’t let the album’s unfortunate closer ruin the whole thing for you. The rest is absolutely worth listening to. Pick it up and take it with you somewhere—this is music that needs to be enjoyed in the fresh air.
It’s French-Canadian and fresh from the oven. It’s special. It’s unusual.
One-man band Navet Confit’s third album features 13 songs that bounce from soft rock to pop, experimental funk to poetic slam, industrial to electro. Confit’s songs are both cheery and moody, taking the listener on some kind of musical journey. If you like the repetitive sounds of a drop in a sink, of static and scratches on vinyl, this might pique your interest.
The words to the songs are easy to understand but their meanings are harder to grasp. Navet Confit’s lyrics are a complex blend of word games, idioms and absurdities. Let’s call it neo-Dadaist.
Enough about the “artistic” aspects of this album. The best part of this CD is it comes with a very fun booklet that you can fold to make your very own origami papier vampire. Twilight mania strikes again.