Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reviews:: Share - Pedestrian

Is Chipman, New Brunswick the first place you think of when you think of Electronic folk music? No? Perhaps it should be. Although now based in Halifax, Andrew Sisk, who created Share with his friend and Producer A.A. Wallace, hails from the tiny New Brunswick town. The two produced two albums under the Share moniker, the folky Ukelele Tragic and the electronic-themed Can Can Missile before deciding to try and merge those two sounds on the group's latest effort, Pedestrian. Two new members also joined the band on a full time basis, Kyle Cunjak on acoustic double bass and Nick Cobham on guitar, with both of them also helping out with the vocals.

Although not an entirely new phenomenon, the blending of folk harmonies with electronic samples and sounds is always a risky proposition. And based on the album bio, the band aren't looking to play it safe:

Taking an organic sound base and building upon it with samples, synths and programmed beats, the album is an expression that doesn't bend to the commonality of genre constraints.

After my first few listens, I can say that this isn't just idle talk. There are plenty of chances taken on the album, from folk and country sounds, through to songs that almost seem as though they're constructed from dueling breakbeats. Importantly though, I never felt like I was listening to an experiment, that organic base mentioned in the quote above ensures that each song manages to keep a melodic essence, and that makes for enjoyable listening. In fact, this is an album that rewards repeated listens, as I was picking up nuances in the songs, in the lyrics especially, on the second or third time through.

The Great Before kicks things off with a sound that reminds me a bit of Beat Radio, an outfit we've been quite high on here at the hill, so that's a good sign. It begins as kind of light, contemplative song until a drum beat kicks in at the 3:20 mark and everything shifts into a higher gear. As it's title suggests, Too Shy To Blush is about shyness, but it's catchy track full of jangly guitar and snapping drums certainly isn't afraid to get out and mingle. Silouette is a beautiful song, all about guitar strum and a harmonica riff that, oddly enough, brings to mind the Gorillaz Tomorrow Comes Today. I have to say, considering it contains lines like "we can all pull a knife, we can all silouette", it's certainly one of the happiest "feeling" songs about loneliness I've heard.

Steel guitar and piano give Continents a lonely, countryish vibe. "Some days you're Africa, telling Europe not to stray...Most days you're Australia, reaching to touch Bombay". I have to say, in the wrong hands, that could sail mighty close to the cheese continent, but the measured delivery of the song makes it work here. I wanted to like Dance, Dance, Retribution, simply because I loved the title, and I have to say it's a lot more electro than I would've expected, chock full of snaps & hand claps with computer effects on the vocals. But in the end, it works. The other songs have enough electronic influence that it's not completely shocking, and it was enjoyable on the next listen. The Yard has a cacophonous beat that sounds like they looped a few seconds of Neil Pert busting a solo on his 146 piece kit. Catherine MacLellan also makes an appearance on vocals, and normally you'd have this sweet back & forth interplay over a correspondingly sweet/sparse track, and so kudos to the guys for pairing it with a kind of out-there track. Makes it a standout for me.

Perhaps you can tell, I'm a fan of this album. Share are on a tour of Eastern Canada over the next several weeks (check their myspace for dates), so if you have the chance, get out and see them. I'm guessing their electroacoustic goodness will make them quite a few more new fans. As for me, I'll be trying to catch Share's show during the Halifax Pop Explosion, which is October 17th at Ginger's Tavern.

MP3:: Share - Silhouette

MP3:: Share - The Yard

Posted at 8:47 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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