Best-of ’11:: Jon Mckiel Confidence Lodge

2010 came and went without a new record from Jon Mckiel, which sadly made my musical stock investment for 2010 a bit of a bust. Funding and bad luck played a part in derailing his year, but Mckiel still managed to play countless shows and fine tune his sound. Anyone that’s seen him play live lately will know the indie rock anthems he and the band preferred on The Nature of Things have been replaced by sludge filled mopers and pleasantly lonely uke driven melodies.

 

While this makes for a great live show, it was unclear what direction Mckiel would take for his studio work. The new songs he debuted over the last year have shown Jon can craft scrappy, noise laced affairs as easily as he can strip back the layers and connect to the listener with a folky intimacy. I guess unsurprisingly, Confidence Lodge toes the line between the two, but the surprise is how terrific the results are.

 

Whether it’s plaintive strums of his uke, simple, clean harmonies and tasteful strings (“Snow Owls”) or textures as thick as a harbor fog, Mckiel uses these seventeen minutes to deliver emotion and explore darker, moodier spaces. “Rupert May 18″ plods along at a calculated gate, like a hunter stalking his prey, and transports the listener into the coldest, darker parts of Jon’s soul. The opening number (“Monster Of The Mirimichi”) references one of Eastern Canada’s most notorious killers and even “Snow Owl” counterpoints the tropical uke riff with haunting lines centered in sub-artic temperatures and dominated by fear.

 

Without question, Mckiel sets mood and triggers emotion nicely on this release, but the highlight of Confidence Lodge is “Motion Pictures”, the one song where he shakes free of the shackles of restraint and leaves his darker thoughts behind. The guitar line bounces nicely, playfully chasing the drums and gives Jon the chance to throw in some backing harmonies and sing-along choruses. It’s a catchy-as-hell palette cleanser before you settle in and appreciate the space and sludge that Mckiel is traveling through these days. In today’s MP3/iPod generation, Jon actually appeals to the masses by delivering a single that stands out and to the traditionalists that value a start-to-finish listen with an EP the flows together perfectly and demands countless repeats.

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MP3:: Jon Mckiel - Motion Pictures
WEB:: http://jonmckiel.bandcamp.com/

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 9:40 am and is filed under 2011, Canada, Halifax, Jon Mckiel, Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Best-of ’11:: Jon Mckiel Confidence Lodge”

Tweets that mention Herohill » Blog Archive » Best-of ’11:: Jon Mckiel Confidence Lodge -- Topsy.com January 6th, 2011 at 10:47 am

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by herohill. herohill said: The wait is over. Stellar new EP from @jonmckiel - Confidence Lodge - and it's f@cking great. http://bit.ly/gVBrTF @pigeonrow [...]

Ronnie Ronkins January 7th, 2011 at 10:27 am

I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Jon’s new ep and it’s a stellar piece of work. You sure are a killer diller Jon Mckiel.I just saw Jon perform at the Carleton with Al Tuck last week. I wish his set had of been longer cause he killed it.

Ronnie out.

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