[27 March 2008]
Chicago’s Canasta play a rich and usually satisfyingly lush brand of orchestral pop that basically lives or dies by how you feel about Matt Priest’s florid voice and lyrics (they irked me a little at first, but I’m coming around). In the wait between albums that can be both longer and deadlier for smaller bands like Canasta they’ve made a very shrewd move; rather than release some kind of cheap stopgap that risks alienating any nascent fans who pick it up, they’ve released a free stopgap. They’ve also enlisted an impressively diverse crew to remix their songs, which means not only do you get something new (and a lot of a it too, around 90 minutes), but you have a chance to discover new acts and also renew your love for the band.
The best remixes accomplish both; the two takes on “Just a Star”, for example (by Multi-Panel and Seth Vanek), suggest that I should go listen to the original again as it must be at least partially as rapturous as these two very different takes suggest, and also that I should keep my eyes out for anything else those two put their hands to. Canasta really threw the door open—the styles here veer from dub to disco to folk to orchestral to rap to electro country to just about any other spin you could put on these sounds, and while there’s a lot to digest in one sitting it’s free to download and sift through; whatever you like about the band, there’ll be treasure here, and that ought to keep us all favourably inclined to the band until they get some new material together.