Friday, July 4, 2008

Reviews:: Azeda Booth In Flesh Tones

photo by Marc Rimmer :: web site :: myspace

There are certain records that just scream summer. Little Jabs, Five Roses, the new Snailhouse record, and We, The Vehicles are just a few that come to mind. The tempo, energy and warmth that exude from the songs really make you want to be outside, surrounded by friends and strangers.

On the flip side of the coin, the new Azeda Booth record - In Flesh Tones - is written for cold secluded nights where every step on the walk home seems like a mile and you pine for anything that can numb the bitter chill. The sounds you hear often seem to move at a glacial pace, despite the complexities of the arrangements. Sure, undercurrents of static electricity run throughout the large mass of sound, but for the most part the Calgary quintet seems happy to let songs evolve slowly and surely.

Lobster Quadrille is a perfect example. Aside from the staccato pulse that runs through the track, it creeps along unassumingly, but certainly not unnoticed. You strain to hear every layer, as you resist the foolish urge to think the sounds just blend together. But when you really listen, you see how the band shifts tempo perfectly over the seven minutes and realize how every sound can be heard and digested. Just before you'd settle into the constant pace, they switch gears, add tones that dance around your headphones, and capture your complete attention.

Ambient electro/organic pop is a lot like punk rock. The songs seem simple to the casual listener, so everyone assumes they can add something to the genre and the end result is usually (at best) mediocrity. For every band that gets it right - like Mum or Sigur Ros - there are literally thousands struggling to find the perfect way to fuse blips and bleeps with strings and vocals and usually those good bands don't come from Canada.

Azeda Booth gets it right, somehow capturing the raw power and vastness of where we live and using that inspiration to create beauty. They pass on the buzz saw guitars that normally dominate the Alberta scene and resist the need for "epic" crescendos and false importance and seem to despise the "quiet, quiet, loud, quiet, deafening" pattern that you hear too often. The songs speak softly, but with a clarity and confidence that makes you listen… intently.

Originally a two man gang, JordanHossack and Morgan Greenwood started out creating song structures based on the vocals and programming. Over time, they've added the organic mix and jumped into fuller sounds and I think that's why this record works. Hossack's fragile falsetto cracks and bends adding more human emotion to the songs than you'd think possible (Note: He's the singer, there are no female vocalists on board) and Morgan's programming reflects the tone of the vocals perfectly. The stability they create allows the backing instrumentation to roam freely over the track finding crevasses and open sky to fill.

It's no secret as to why the guitar and drumming on this record crackle. Two of the band members are cogs of the WOMEN wheel, a band that mixes experimentation with hooks perfectly, and although the band never dominate the mix, they create walls of sound that take your breath away. Every one of the 12 tracks expose subtly, power, emotion and like other terrific bands that exist in the same sound scapes, they are almost impossible to describe.

In Flesh Tones will be out July 22nd on Absolutely Kosher and chances are it's going to be a record you love now and listen to non-stop once the chill gets back in the air.


In Red - In Flesh Tones
Aislinn Bos,Y - Mysterious Body EP

Posted at 8:57 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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