Thursday, January 8, 2009
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Sometimes you find goodness in the strangest locations. Whether it's a random message board post, passed nonchalantly in a conversation, or in this case, tucked in a folder on your hard drive. Apparently, in September I download the debut EP from Montreal’s After the Weather, and despite my good intentions it seems I forgot about it. Not the best start to a musical relationship, but that is my fault not theirs, as the band is doing everything right when it comes to getting noticed. They are making good music and giving it away for free.
It’s pretty obvious that front man Matthew Hills grew up listening to early Radiohead and Muse - I know. I know. Who didn’t and who the f*ck cares right? – but the songs on their EP are bursting with energy. The guitars are moody and atmospheric, but still carry a rawness with them and are balanced nicely by the stellar bass lines that Rob Helsten delivers. If the vocals and guitar are the heart of After the Weather, Helston’s riff and fills are the soul. The guitars and harmonies on Jyoti Found Herself In A Horrible Mess grab you, but it’s the head nodding bass that explodes out of your headphones that keeps the track moving.
In a weird sort of way, the maturity and restraint the band shows throughout this EP is the most remarkable aspect. After delivering a floating, Buttless Chaps inspired collage (Aliens) and the infectious Jyoti, Hills spits lyrics over the meandering bass line of Shark Song. At countless points during the first three songs, you expect the band to explode into a heavy, surging, static filled cloud. Instead, they keep the reigns taught, building anticipation as you wait for the chaos to take over.
The sequencing drives the EP forward, letting the band flow perfectly into the heavier, more experimental tracks that dominate the last half of the EP. Charles Manson is a Saint and effect filled ...And Montreal was Gone pick up the pace and get you more entrenched in the record and by the time the band gets to the swirling 12-minute closer (Welcome to Safe America), you are ready to listen to whatever they have to say/play. That being said, I’m not sure the collection of musical thoughts and sonic exploration works as well on record as it would to in the middle of a set, but it shows that these Montreal natives are probably ready to burn down a stage.