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Music

Canoe: I Give You . . . Canoe!

Jason Thompson

Canoe

I Give You . . . Canoe!

Label: Amazing Grease
US Release Date: 2003-05-31
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Ready for something loud and tasty from the capital of everything perfect in rock and roll, Austin, Texas? Then you're ready for Canoe. You'll be hard pressed to find another album this year that rocks this hard and this fun. Like an insane howl from the bowels of the finest garage rock of yore mixed with the chilly sweetness of the '80s and the best alterna sounds of the early '90s, Canoe brings something entirely new to the table. What that is is completely unbridled, sincere rock and roll that isn't new in itself, but is still such a rarity these days that your body instantly goes into spastic fits and dances when it hears and feels it.

Other reviews have said Canoe's name in the same breath as the Hives and the Strokes. Fuck that. Austin is light years ahead of New York City and lands beyond. The populace there has known how to rock for what may be ages now, and the Big Apple can only hope to hold on to its coattails without being shaken off into some dirty storm drain currently caked with the residue of all those "garage" groups that are seemingly so fucking amazing. Look, just put down all those other albums. The Strokes' new one won't be an eighth as rocking as I Give You�Canoe! Canoe is all about the good times and the true rock, not the fake-ironic ironic projection mixed with just the right dash of fashionable shirts and jackets that all the other groups push in your face first before the guitars.

The sound of this album is so packed and loud that it even surprised me. Usually I'm not big on distorted vocals, cheesy organs, and constant bombast attack, but fuck it. Canoe actually has the songs and the melodies to make this kind of mixture work. "All At Once" jumps out of the box with a howl, some screaming guitars, thoroughly destroyed drums and that insistent organ that sounds like it was stolen from some former new wave robot band. From there, the action never lets up. The next ten tracks will beat you upside the head silly and make you want to drown yourself in cheap whiskey, wild women, and a pair of shattered headphones so you can lose yourself in the sounds even more.

"Don't Tell" has a magical, surprisingly sweet chorus that will connect the very first time, guaranteed. "C'mon" is what the Stooges would be doing if they were still viable beyond Fun House. "Do It So Well" is thoroughly convincing in its barren honesty, and teeters on doing My Bloody Valentine one better. Perhaps after a listen to the fuzz that makes up the song, you'll want to pack in your cherished copy of Loveless as well. Mr. Shields be damned. Sometimes you have to actually reach out to the listeners instead of hide behind the critically praised noise. Dig it.

"Digicat" has one of those spooky hooky moments in it that feels so familiar that you'll feel right at home within its warm, inviting confines of swirling organ, buzzing guitar, and full-on flood of cymbals crashing over and over again. "Girlfriend" screams for attention and will shatter any ridiculous old notions that Kurt Cobain knew how to rock. If he had ever written or recorded anything this passionate and not made it sound like one huge whine-fest, he may have actually earned some of that cred that everyone still wants to give him. Nevermind one of the greatest albums ever?! Feh!

Yes, blasphemy, I know. Good. It's time to move on. No more living in the past. Listen to "Panty Pile" and "Feed the Raccoon" and be rocked like never before. Silly titles to be sure, but beyond that are some of the toughest, most moving rock sounds ever, no lie. And then there's "Corndogs Are Our Friends". If this song doesn't make you a fan instantly, then perhaps those jokers who deem fit to splash Jack and Meg White all over their magazine covers every damn month really have won. Let's hope not.

Canoe is an amazing band. So rare it is that a group with such outright energy comes along with perfect songs to boot. Not since Those Peabodys (another glorious Austin group) dropped with their debut a while back have I been so instantly smitten and submissive to the sound of raging guitars, wailin' soulful vocals, and apocalyptic drums and organ. This is the kind of rock that makes me feel good to be alive. I do indeed give you Canoe. Now, take them along on your ride and feel the power of what true rock and roll can do for you, too.

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