April 2, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 97  

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Do You Imagine Things?

Alfie earns an “A” for effort. The songs sample long-dead genres and are elaborately layered. The result is a cluttered, irritating and over-compressed mix of sounds. It’s like eating a salad that could be delicious, but has too many strange vegetables and has been sitting in the sun for hours.

The song “Stuntman” revisits the a cappella harmonies of Queen, stirring in undertones of ’70s folk and ’80s glam rock.

“Winding Road” is more consistent, with an upbeat rhythm.

“No Need” begins with syncopated, warped banjoes and cars starting while “Molluse” is a creepy Gregorian chant/marching band piece. The epic song “My Blood Smells Like Thunderstorms” is peppered with tambourine but feels like the exhausted end of a five-year-old’s birthday party or melting carnival music.

—Dallas Curow and Meghan Hart

36 Crazyfists
A Snow Capped Romance
Roadrunner Records

Have you ever noticed that regardless of what metal rockers are singing about, they usually sound like they’re just yelling? 36 Crazyfists are not a band to shy away from stereotypes, laying down 11 cacophonous, migraine-inducing tracks on their new album, A Snow Capped Romance.

The band is comprised of Brock Lindow on vocals, Steve Holt on guitar and back-up vocals, Mick Whitney on bass and someone called “T” on drums.

Lindow, who writes all the songs, has been quoted as saying the tracks are a “romance with people, places and situations.”

Surprisingly, when the band mellows in some songs, the vocals are actually quite good and the instruments very distinct. Unfortunately, this sanity doesn’t last long, and soon enough, it’s right back to the usual pandemonium.

—Benjamin Mann

Snow Patrol
Final Straw

Sometimes a band is just too versatile to be confined to one genre, and with Snow Patrol, nothing could be closer to the truth. The British quartet was not happy with being known simply as another British rock band, so they branched out to include an American guitar-pop sound.

Snow Patrol is made up of vocalist and utility man Gary Lightbody, guitarist Nathan Connolly, bassist and keyboardist Mark McClelland and drummer Jonny Quinn. Together, these boys have put out a unique album.

But despite the band’s unique sound, every song sounds exactly the same. They blend so much that if the gaps between the songs were shorter, it’s not likely anyone would notice there are actually 12 tracks on the CD (which ironically concludes with a song titled “Same”).

Overall, anyone short of a die-hard fan will find this album disappointing.

—Benjamin Mann

MC Mario
Mixdown 2004

Get ready to sweat — this one is hot! Mixdown 2004 burns an eternal flame; it literally never stops.

A powerful, riveting meltdown of past and present music, this CD resurrects old favourites and lets the music, not the words, tell the story. Hints of familiar songs tease the listener, then disappear only to re-enter the mix moments later in a bigger, better format.

Elements of disco, rock and rap fuse in a musical composition reminiscent of Blade Runner. Smooth and well-integrated song fragments unify into a high-energy musical: “I just wanna get better... everything I do, I do it for you... you can dance if you want to... if you can’t dance... you’re no friend of mine... is this burning an eternal flame... all the leaves are brown and the sky is gray... ”

And finally, the hypnotic “Your body, my body, everybody love your body... ” will make you wanna dance.

—Mary Anne Pucovski



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