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Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

In Spades

Review of Key Witness' Seven Across The Sea

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceIt takes a lot to get me past my aversion to slap bass. I have no fondness for the technique, in fact it’s pretty much anathema to me – so it’s no small thing when I say that on Seven Across the Sea, the second album from Toronto’s Key Witness, it works. The lead track, “Brother John”, kicks off with a pretty intense slap attack before segueing into a barnstorming country rock number, and that approach – the melding of seemingly incongruous styles onto a raw, roots-rock core – is what makes Key Witness unique.

In theory, what makes roots-inflected music such is a no frills approach, but Key Witness’ creative restlessness never compromises the underlying simplicity of it all. Even when shifting from genre to genre within each song – at various points throughout the record, atmospheric, prog, funk, post and chamber are all appropriate descriptors – things remain impressively focused, anchored by J.M. McNabb’s authentically hoary rasp, the band’s taut musical prowess and their rollicking yet hook-laden songwriting.

There’s never the sense of experimentation for experimentation’s sake – Sea may take an unexpected route to get where they’re going, but considering the intense and frequently exhilarating record that results, there’s no doubt that they’ve got the map and know exactly where they’re going.

Seven Across The Sea was released back in March, but doesn’t seem to have made its way into any online outlets I can find, but I’m sure the band would be happy to hook you up with a CD copy and it’s lovely, wax-sealed (!) packaging. Or, pick one up when Key Witness play the Drake Underground tomorrow evening, May 28, as part of the Pitter Patter Festival.

MP3: Key Witness – “First Wave”
MP3: Key Witness – “Overnight”
MP3: Key Witness – “Pinebox”
MP3: Key Witness – “Seeing Things”
MySpace: Key Witness

Drowned In Sound interviews Jason Lytle, who will be opening up for Neko Case at Massey Hall on July 14.

Explosions In The sky talk to Spinner about the state of their new album and confess that they still haven’t seen Friday Night Lights, the show that’s no doubt bankrolling at least some of the new record.

Perhaps Mark Kolzelek can fill them in on what they’ve been missing – he tells Pitchfork that Friday Night Lights is his favourite TV show.

State interviews Friendly Fires, in town at Lee’s Palace on August 10.

Words that do not belong together: “Patrick Wolf“, “video” and “boring”. Wolf has released the second video from The Bachelor, out June 1 or August 11 depending what side of the Atlantic you reside on, and while it’s not as NSFW as the first one for “Vulture”, it’s still pretty trippy. Can’t wait to see what sort of visuals Wolf has in store for his North American tour – he’s at the Mod Club on June 15. Maybe he’ll drop some hints on Twitter.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “Hard Times”

Spinner Canada talks to Metric.

Adam Franklin has a solo date at the El Mocambo on July 6.

Exclaim has a feature piece on Grizzly Bear. They have a sold-out show at the Phoenix on June 5.

Check out the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs video.

Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll”

The Independent talks to Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon. The Eternal is out June 9 and they play Massey Hall on June 30.

Quiet day, yes.

By : Frank Yang at 8:25 am
Category: General

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RSS Feed for this post2 Responses.
  1. Bob says:

    New Hayden is out today. Cuff the Duke is the backup band on it.

  2. josh says:

    Does Explosions in the Sky actually record anything for Friday Night Lights? I was surprised when I learned that the main theme was by W.G. Snuffy Walden and haven’t followed closely enough to tell how often the music is EitS vs EitSlike.