Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reviews:: Contrived blank, blank, blank

web site :: buy record from Hand Drawn Dracula

Right now, bloggers are freaking out about the new project from former members of The Arcade Fire and The Unicorns, but personally, I’m much more intrigued by the new LP from Canadian super group, Contrived. As far as Canadian music goes, a band comprised of past and current members of both Wintersleep and Holy Fuck is about as topical (and as Nova Scotian) as it gets, but Contrived is more than just an outlet for the talented musicians.

blank, blank, blank is the third Contrived record, and the comfort level and trust the quintet has developed over the years helps make it their most enjoyable record yet. Mixing infectious melody and sludgy haze, like the band does on the opening single (Not a Goodbye), you almost want to start talking about bands like Dinosaur Jr., but they quickly change directions and move towards a more DC sound (Angels Rioting Against the Nothing). With all the surging guitars and textures they play with, the straight ahead drumming provides the stability needed to keep the song moving forward and the end result is one of the most inspired tracks I’ve heard lately.

Over the course of 8 songs and 35 incredibly diverse minutes, the band manages to meld melodic sludge and classic rock into the inspired indie anthems and sonic explorations you’d expect from their other projects. They can hit you with a political post hardcore jam (The War to Settle the Score) or soften the blow as they add angelic vocals and spacey, dreamlike textures (Keepsake and Celebrate). Keepsake builds and builds, but instead of succumbing to melodramatic excesses, the band simply lets the song come to life until it courses through your veins.

In the end though, the most interesting things about this record (and the band in general I suppose) is the simple fact that their success makes it almost impossible to tour or even support this release. Contrived took the time and effort to release this material because they believe in it. They aren’t trying to write songs that sell and start a musical career, and the result means they can launch into a huge guitar frenzy for the last two-minutes of Firing Squad or a soaring anthem like Attention (Black Ops) without worrying what people will think.

Complete musical freedom is a rare thing, and Contrived certainly takes full advantage of their unique position to deliver a record that stacks up nicely against the songs you already know and love.

Posted at 8:21 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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