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PopMatters Music Short Takes
our brief reviews of new releases
03 April 2006
The Diableros, You Can't Break the Strings in Our Olympic Hearts (Baudelaire) Rating: 8
The comparisons to the Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene for this Toronto-based six piece will probably be coming fast and furious, but it won't be entirely accurate. The Diableros dispose of Arcade Fire's mannered passion and Broken Social Scene's endless sprawl offering something more contained and even more vital. Powerfully direct, and charmingly rough around the edges, You Can't Break the Strings in Our Olympic Hearts is every bit as expansive as the title suggests. Powered by a Farfisa and 12-string guitar, the Diableros melt additional keyboards, drums and bass into a fierce rock 'n' roll machine. Falling somewhere between the Nuggets box set and Belle & Sebastian, the Diableros are vulnerable with a switchblade's edge. There is a verve throughout You Can't Break the Strings in Our Olympic Hearts that is impressive. Debut albums rarely come with this kind of confidence and quality. The Diableros had better ready themselves for kind of attention already lavished on the bands previously mentioned. It seems that the well of quality Canadian acts is not yet dry -- go find this.
multiple songs: [complete album stream]
Dan Jones, Get Sounds Now (Daily Records Online) Rating: 7
Dan Jones has been compared to some select company, including Husker Du of all bands. But it's hard to see what that comparison might have any clout with the surf-guitar rave-up instrumental entitled "Successtro". Not a bad song but nothing to write home about. From there, the '60s pop feeling of "Cooling Off" has some things going for it, namely a nice melody but with Jones sounding like a whiney Westerberg at best. It has a strong bridge though bringing to mind the Attractions without Elvis at the helm. As the album continues, it gets better, including a poppy and light "The Rain and the Swell" that would fit alongside something David Kilgour might have recently put out. Jones wears his heart on his sleeve during the soft, ballad-ish "Little Machine" that seems to fit his tired, weary vocal. But "Baron Von Wasteland", while flexing a wall of guitar at times, is best left to They Might Be Giants with some twists and turns. The Petty-esque "Redbird in the Rain" is perhaps the best of the lot here. A close second might be the mid-tempo roots pop of "Bluebird". And anyone who can make the phrase "plumber's crack" sound wistful, as he does on "Saggy Pants", can't be all bad. The added bonus songs don't live up to expectations, just filler.
"One Man Submarine": [MP3]
"Sunrise Man": [MP3]
Marty Casey & Lovehammers, Marty Casey & Lovehammers (Epic/Burnett) Rating: 5
The second banana on INXS' search for their lead singer left Marty Casey in a difficult spot. But with an opening slot on INXS' North American tour, Casey and his band have made the best of it with an album that seems to tap into the radio-friendly hard rock that Nickelback has mined for the past few years. This despite the fact the closing "Clouds" is a ballad-by-the-book tune. A perfect example of this is the leadoff "Casualty" that has the heavy chorus but ends just a hair too quickly. From there "Hold On" is a bouncy, high-energy, somewhat catchy pop rock tune with guitarist Billy Sawilchik hitting all the right riffs in the right places. The early highlight is a slow-building "Trees" that made Casey a household name on the show, a tune that has a thick, meaty chorus that cruises along. Some other songs, while not exactly filler, don't quite measure up including "Tunnel" that is ordinary at best. The same can be said for the hook-fuelled "Eyes" but finally hits paydirt with some great solos at the conclusion. Meanwhile "Riddle" sounds like a long (and I do mean long) distant cousin of Oasis' "Don't Look Back in Anger". But another high point comes with the Jimmy Eat World-ish "Call of Distress".
multiple songs: [MP3]
.: posted by Editor 9:41 AM