Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reviews:: Construction & Destruction The Volume Wars

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My wife and I recently bought a house, and the last few weekends - something that is destined to continue for years to come I'd imagine - have been spent making the house ours. Little projects that may seem insignificant to most have completely changed the appearance of our house and each day the we feel more comfortable.

So, I guess that makes this the perfect tim to talk about Construction & Destruction and their new record. Last year when I reviewed their debut record, I talked about how the record was a lot like the two of them rebuilding the farm house in Port Grenville. "Reconstructing an old farmhouse has immense challenges, risks, and you are going to make a few mistakes trying to make that home exactly as you envision it and they same can be said about Homebodies. But at the end of the day you have something you love, full of emotion and experiences and when the light hits it right, you are amazed with the end result."

Well, unlike my wife and I, Dave and Colleen are another year in and the hard work has paid off. The time and effort, love and heartache that they've put into the band shines through on The Volume Wars. Trimmed down and concise - 9 tracks and a quick hitting 36 minutes - the record builds on the successful foundation they laid last time around. The spare songs and emotive vocals are still there, they just seem to have gotten a little bit more... impactful. The debut had some missteps as the duo ran with every idea they could think of (and to be fair, most worked very well). This time around, every note is used wisely. Each stanza serves a purpose and the songs really sound like an extension who David and Colleen really are.

The Volume Wars opens with a casio and keep time drums, but Colleen's slinky vocals on What The Non-Human Taught Us transform the simple back beat into an engaging song that begs for repeat listening. Instead of cold or calculated, the song has a surprising warmth that leads nicely into the lo-fi guitar of Ring Around the Moon. The fuzzy riff and build is peaks your interest, but the track is softened when Colleen harmonizes with David (when they both sing, "simmer and reduction" the blissful tone is perfect) and the relationship they've developed together is solidified.

Sure, you can identify who wrote each song - Colleen's are more keyboard heavy (although the slow strummed guitar that accompanies her on the stellar Pillar of Stone is perfect for her voice), where as David's rely on the more traditional guitar/drum sound - but unlike the last effort, their talents are meshed more effectively. The best part of this new found security is that it actually lets the band fly off on tangents and experiment more.

Pool in the Snow is only two-minutes long, but the tormented vocal line is riddled with intensity and sadness and I'm not sure the duo could have pulled it off on the last record. By surrounding it with two of the more accessible songs - Colleen's quirky Redundant again lighten the load and helps you sink back into the listen - they really control the record. Redundant strips away any accees until the song is no more than a few stray notes that warble around your headphones and has you straining to hear and gives you a slight reprieve from the intense vocals and stripped down guitar.

I'll be the first to admit that Construction & Destruction might not fit into the average listener's wheelhouse but what the are doing is worth your time. They avoid hooks and their voices often strain just outside of their limit, but that's what makes the songs work. They push themselves and challenge you to stay with them offering you little rewards at the most unexpected times. When David's voice relaxes to deliver a somber, personal ballad (Wanted to Go), you see yet another wrinkle this duo can offer and much like turning a house into a home, all the love they are putting into the project is starting to pay off. More importantly, when all is said and done, this band is going to be something terrific.

Posted at 8:45 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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