Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Reviews:: Octoberman These Trails Are Old and New

You’ve finished school, and want to escape the routine that seems to hold you back. Travel usually leads to growth and your experiences usually result in inspiration. Such is the case for Vancouver folk artist, Mark Morrisette. Mark is the front man for the indie rock act, Kids These Days, but decided to take a break from the band and travel in 2003. The result is a collection of sparsely arranged songs he delivers under the moniker, Octoberman.

Relying on his melancholy, Jonah Matranga style voice, Mark uses the barest of instrumentation to carry his voice and sings about what he saw overseas. From the opening track, X-Pat, Mark shares moments that any Canadian traveler can relate to (including the tradition of sewing the Canadian flag onto your pack) and intrigues you with the simple day-to-day life of a traveler. Mark portrays the exhaustion and overwhelming feeling of being lost perfectly.

While this may sound boring to anyone who never left home, you can’t help but think of Kerouac's On the Road as you listen to the record. The words are much more powerful than the actual events. A story is all in the telling and an experience is all in the observations.

It’s easy to hear the simple guitar riffs and harmonicas (Face on My Smile) and think of Cohen, Young and Dylan, but Mark uses drums machines (Merci Cornerstone), mandolins and subtle layers to give his timeless stories a modern feel. There is more than enough diversity to keep your ear. The up-tempo drums of Tokyo Nightmare magically contrast the classic sounds of the guitar and harmonica and the simple finger-picked guitar, xylophone melody of the standout track, In a Perfect World, will draw in the most skeptical listener.

MP3:: In a Perfect World
Or bounce over to his myspace page to download two tracks from his new solo acoustic Laguardia EP and a streamed new song.

Posted at 1:10 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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