US: 8 Sep 2009
UK: 8 Sep 2009
The Polaris Prize-nominated Little Jabs from 2007 was the last album by these spunky Canadians, and it contained a tightly coiled collection of guitar-pop hooks and songs about kissing. Territory, its follow-up, kicks off in a similar vein with the likeable “Noisemaker” and the title track, but Two Hours Traffic gradually loosens its grip until finally losing it. Territory sags in the middle amid tedious lyrical redundancies about communication (“Just Listen”), alcoholism (“Drop Alcohol”), and fear (“Monster Closet”). The tempo slows to a stroll, then to a crawl. The hooks are there, but there’s hardly enough meat for them to dig into. The obvious charm on display is unmoored and floats into the clouds like a child’s lost balloon. Little Jabs was no multilayered masterwork, but it was a heady rush: The record felt like the giddy Friday afternoon before an evening house party. Not only is Territory anything but that sweet party, it skips the entire weekend.