December 7, 2010
Courtesy of online accessibility, a wealth of new sounds are bubbling up from the underground to a waiting world, readily available to those who want something of substance in their musical diet. While much from the indie menu commends itself, sometimes it's helpful to have a map with clear directions to the best, undiscovered gems out there.
Loon Choir's debut should be your next stop.
Hailing from Ottawa (Canada), the young sextet manages to balance icy synths with the warmth of a very human approach to their songcraft. There is fantastic counterpoint in the vocal department as male and female leads are deployed, cleverly, to bring additional depth and variety to the material. The bedrock tempo of the songs easily translates to the dance floor, yet there is melody present and a great deal of care taken to infuse the hooks with thoughtful lyrical subject matter.
Highlights of the disc include "New Forewarnings", "Bricks" and "Soil Science", though all of the tracks are pretty stellar. Having had the pleasure to catch them in the act, I was most impressed by the fact that their tunes have an even greater impact in a live setting. They come across as grittier while retaining the polish of the recorded versions.
Layered in the mix, there are echoes of groups from the early eighties who married technology to real playing (Gary Numan, Joy Division) and managed to strike a balance between keyboard oriented themes and guitar-centric ideas. This provides only a hint of the overall sound, which again greatly benefits from the vocal interplay of Nicole Yates (who has a strong Kate Bush inflection-definitely a compliment) and Derek Atkinson. Overall, this is a satisfying listen that begs the question of what direction they will choose to take in plotting their next project.
Put Expansion Forces on your list and share it with your friends. Check out selections from the CD here (also available for purchase on itunes)
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by Sean Coleman