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The High Wire

Ahead of the Rain

(Grandpa Stan; US: 9 Dec 2008; UK: 2 Feb 2009)

Not quite as expansive or epic as Explosions in the Sky, the High Wire take a lush, almost Belle and Sebastian-ish approach to this leadoff track “Ahead of the Rain”. Meanwhile “Saint Bees” is a heady, retro-sounding number which resembles a cross between Travis and Smashing Pumpkins. Meanwhile, the softer, ambling and Beatles-riddled “Easy” is extremely easy on the ears. Perhaps the song which sums up the album best is “You Don’t Know What I Know” with the lyric talking about filling up one’s head with sugar. Sweetness is perhaps the best description of this record, a record which would give Canadian act Stars a run for their money.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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