October 30, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 34  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

ON DISC


The New Deal

Gone Gone Gone
Sound + Light/Universal

Is this The New Deal or is this French electronic dream pop band Air?

With their latest album, Gone Gone Gone, the "progressive breakbeat house" band The New Deal seems to have traded in their breakbeats for more mellow beats.

Evolution is necessary, but in this case disappointing to fans who love the band's signature hard bass and beats music. Blame it on maturity, but the quality of music is not lost - it's just different.

The most notable change on this album is the addition of vocalists. Martina Sorbara and Leslie Feist add their song writing and singing skills to the disc. Feist sings on the single and highlight track, "Don't Blame Yourself," a track with thick bass lines and a warm textured sound.

There is nothing wrong with a good chillout album, but for those who want the breakbeats of the old, skip Gone Gone Gone and save your money for one of the band's live CDs. Only then will you be able to get your groove on.

Like with the best musicians, no studio album can really do justice to talent like this.

-Andrea Chiu


Joel Plaskett Emergency

Truthfully Truthfully
MapleMusic Recordings

The East Coast scene saw a lot of action with '90s finds like Sloan, Eric's Trip and the Super Friendz. More recently, Joel Plaskett, former lead singer of Thrush Hermit and the namesake of the Joel Plaskett Emergency, has been one to carry the torch of indie EC rock artists.

His third solo album doesn't come across as a complete whole, but rather as a collection of singles; The twangy drop-off of the first track "Written All Over Me" is in stark contrast to the groovier call-and-response second song, "Work Out Fine," all the while keeping the garage rock feel. The last few tracks of the album contain a more obvious level of production than the first few, as on "You Came Along" and "Heart to Heart with Lionel"; the effect of this furthers the fragmentary nature of the album.

Truthfully Truthfully shows good promise for the production and creative quality of Canada's indie rock scene, but it's not the crossover hit that Sam Roberts has found himself to be. But that may be okay with Joel; "The Day You Walked Away" laments the departure of certain artists from Halifax to Toronto or Montreal.

-Michael Yokota

 


Madrid

Warm Waters
Aporia Records Inc.

Inadvertently or not, Niagara Falls' Madrid appears to draw upon the best of Réyksopp, Air and Manitoba to create a wonderful album conjuring the ambiance of warm vacation nights. It's truly amazing when electronic music sounds organic and alive, and Madrid, like Manitoba, simply oozes this vibe.

While Manitoba creates music for a sun-blasted summer day, Madrid recalls nights spent in Muskoka or the beach, with water flowing over bare feet.

Warm Waters' electronic music refuses to be a typical electronic piece that falls prey to a deadened beat or boring loops. The music was created by two DJs, working in analogue, often accompanied by live drummers, flutes and vocals.

The vocals shine through a haze, adding another layer to the music, with barely audible lyrics. The music, not contrived lyrics, is the message. The result of this sublime mix? An album that facilitates both a relaxed and intense mood, both upbeat and mellow.

-Jeremy Shaw

 

 

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