Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
It's Not Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye
Review of Oh No Forest Fires' The War On Geometry
Kyle HuttonOh No Forest Fires are having a good time. That much is obvious, listening to The War On Geometry, the debut mini-album from the Toronto four-piece that follows up an excellent demo EP that has been kicking around for a while. Even though adding those four tracks to the seven on Geometry would have made for a more traditional-length album, their omission – as excellent as those songs were – is a sensible one. Compared to the new recordings, the songs from the EP were equally if not even more immediately and indelibly catchy, but the execution was more well-mannered and polite.
Geometry, on the other hand, is the sound of that band hepped up on pixie sticks, volume and nostalgia for how distortion pedals sounded in the ’90s. It’s bigger, louder and more abrasive-sounding, though the extra grit also helps those hooks stick just that much harder. Bursting with energy and ideas, it knows when a musical tangent is called for and when its best to simply take the shortest distance between two points to get the point across, particularly by means of big, loud power chords. It takes a skeleton of tempo shifts and melodic complexity that could only have been built by people who really know their way around their instruments, and decorates it in party hats, funny sloganed t-shirts and oversized sunglasses. It’s math-rock if math were singalongable and the most exhilarating subject in school.
A lot of bands spend their careers trying to capture the energy of their live shows on record, and while Geometry doesn’t quite catch the full experience – I’ve listened to the album a good deal and haven’t yet had any of my musical equipment in the vicinity spontaneously demolish itself or find myself soaked in beer/sweat/other fluids – it does a good job of conveying just how… trying not to use the word “energy” again… animated the band can be whilst performing. I’ve seen them twice now and both times have been wonderful bouts of anarchy. And when they play the Horseshoe tomorrow night with Hey Rosetta! and Museum Pieces, both visiting from the Maritimes, I expect nothing less. Cover is $8, ONFF are on first at 9.
Chart has an interview with the band.
Though hard at work at the next Great Lake Swimmers record, Tony Dekker also crafted the score to Song Sung Blue, a forthcoming documentary about a Neil Diamond tribute act. Hear a couple of the pieces below and for clips from the film, hit up their YouTube channel.
mel.opho.be interviews the boys from Wheat about small successes and the link between their music and visual art endeavours. They’ve completed a new album entitled Black Ink and are aiming to release it in Spring 2009. Via Bradley’s Almanac.
The December 9 Noah & The Whale show at the Rivoli has been cancelled, as has the entire North American tour. As they explain in a MySpace blog entry, between their European tour commitments and working on their second record, they just couldn’t make it over. But they promise to return in March of next year, presumably scheduled around an appearance at SxSW.
The Chicago Sun-Times contemplates the fates of the Chicagoan bands set to conquer the alt.rock world way back in 1993.