ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Raising the Fawn
The North Sea
Lead singer John Crossingham has described The North Sea as a “moth-eaten
The disc, with its stripped sound in combination with simple melodies, lives
up to its name by conjuring images of the sea. Unfortunately, the paring of
long intros and extended endings with occasional wailing sounds can seem washed
out at times.
Crossingham’s voice is a duplicate of Coldplay’s Chris Martin
at times, working both to his advantage and disadvantage. Lyrically, nature
is a reoccurring theme serving to tie the songs together with lines such as “soft
as surf against the shore.”
The best song is the title track, which begins with chords reminiscent of
Bush before moving into more aggressive territory with a catchy guitar, bass
and cymbal-based beat which, although drawn out, fails to be tiring. Another
highlight is the backing female vocals on “The News,” which is
reminiscent of The Corrs or The Rankin Family (in a good way).
Altogether, Raising the Fawn’s efforts are promising, and if they tighten
up their sound, we’ll be hearing more from them in the future.
In All Things
What do you get when you combine the feisty Celtic fiddling of
Ashley MacIsaac, the bubble gum pop melodies of The Corrs, some
country à la Shania Twain, spectacular technical prowess
and some good ol’ Canadian family wholesomeness? Leahy!
Lakefield, Ont.’s adorable group of siblings have just released
their third and most musically expansive album. Starting with some
classic East Coast style fiddlin’ tunes like “Chasing
Rain” and “Little Ditty,” In All Things showcases
the wide variety of talents this nine-sibling family has to offer.
The strong opening song “Chasing Liberty” even includes
a section of step-dancing, which Leahy is famous for at their concerts.
Unfortunately, some of the new styles they explore — including
excessive usage of synthesized piano and weak vocal tracks — take
away from an album that’s otherwise well-produced and fun
to listen to. Instead of supporting the brilliant fiddling skills
of Donnel Leahy, the endless chugging of the synthesizer is an
annoying distraction. In addition, vocal tracks like “I Want
You To Know” would be better off as purely instrumental.
It’s the instrumentals where Leahy really shines. The final
track, “Gzowski Medley,” pays homage to Canadian cultural
icon Peter Gzowski through a dramatic, classically influenced violin
melody. This melodious masterpiece has potential to become the
next “Farewell to Nova Scotia.” Aside from a few weak
tracks, In All Things is a charming and fun album.
Say your band just finished touring Europe and the United States
to promote a widely acclaimed power-pop album, and say the single
off that album is now the theme song of a hit TV drama. What’s
your next move?
Well, if you’re Phantom Planet, you ditch your shiny, sparkly
hometown of Los Angeles and run off to a scrubby log cabin in the
woods to record your follow-up album.
On their self-titled third album, Phantom Planet makes a concerted
effort to break away from the glossy pop sound that characterized
their last album, The Guest (which features the breezy, infectious “California” that
plays during the opening credits of every episode of The O.C.),
and morph into a full-fledged garage rock band.
The album becomes less melodically driven and shifts the emphasis
to guitar riffs, with distortion-laced guitar lines framing the
vocal lines. The lead guitar is backed up by thick layers of equally
distorted supporting guitars strumming at breakneck speed; driving,
pulsing bass lines and frantic drumming. The effect is an ostensible
wall of sound that is dirty, messy and utterly satisfying.