Thursday, December 13, 2007

Reviews:: The Cansecos Juices!

Have you ever had to sit in a bar beside a fat, balding sport fan? You know, the guy who says shit like, "If you put me on the ice with the Sedins, I could score 15 goals" or "If I was a step quicker, I could do what Kris Humphries does." In reality, those players are so skilled that they make things look easy, convincing bar room idiots that they could do the same.

For some reason, I think people probably think the same thing about The Cansecos. The Toronto based quartet (led by song writing duo Bill Halliday and Gareth Jones) combines simple beats and drums in a way that makes perfect sense, so you think it's natural. The truth of the matter is that their disco heavy compositions rely on intricate transitions and complex combinations of those simple sounds to find hidden grooves.

I mean, Juices opens up with a spacey loop I think they sampled from Ross's set in Central Perk, but chaotic drums and fragmented programming quickly take over. The vocals sound nice over the slight Casio bossanova rhythm and the band never looks back. Like most great headphone records, the Cansecos shift sounds back and forth between the channels, putting them deep in the background and then pushing them forward, but doing so with precision.

When the album stand out - Raised by Wolves - starts, it plays like a simple disco/funk-fused track. The programmed drum clap and the catchy vocals grab the spotlight, but it's the nice bass line that shimmers in the distance. The distorted notes and constant evolution of the simple melody makes the track interesting and addictive.

But its when Raised by Wolves fades that my interest in the record peaks. To be fair, it's because the collage of sounds on Nothing New to You reminds me of the type of sounds Kenny "Double K" Kirkland and Rae Dawn Chong bust out in Beat Street. The clanky percussion mixes well with the symphonic, mellow textures to create some hybrid jazzy/street vibe and the Cansecos embrace it.

These jams might not be as addictive as songs like Faster than You Go, but the band has progressed into a new style of making music. Instead of looking for easy hooks and a catchy melody with some interesting samples, they search for building block elements that can be added and removed over the course of a track. Clear Blue Sky isn't going to make you jump around the dance floor, but when you are walking on a crowded city street after a shitty day from work the sounds grab your attention.

I'm not sure this record will be what the super disco, dance loving fans will be looking for, but for people who want to enjoy interesting programming and organic textures, the Cansecos are moving in the right direction. I mean, the sexified, Bob James funk of Fog, Smoke, Steam is ridiculous. The bass drum kick and piano are funky as hell.

That's not to say there aren't danceable songs on Juices. Lunar Landing uses a Fourtet/Stanton Moore style percussion line and some slow pulled strings to frame the track and the relative simplicity of the song lets the flourishes of horns pop. Fight Yellow's pace and sing-along chorus is perfect for tight jeans/fedora night when Pabst Blue Ribbon goes on special.

It's been way too long since we got a new full length from the band, and this one is certainly worth the wait in my opinion.
MP3:: Raised By Wolves
MP3:: Faster Than You Go

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Posted at 12:48 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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