Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Review Of Evening Hymns’ Spirit Guides and giveaway
eveninghymns.comThey say you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep, and nowhere is this more true than in the case of Peterborough’s Jonas Bonnetta, aka Evening Hymns, who first earned notice in these parts back in June opening up for Ohbijou. The liner notes of his second album, the just-released Spirit Guides, reads like a who’s who of the Bellwoods crew, including members of Forest City Lovers, Ohbijou and The Wooden Sky, to name but a few, and if you want to take that as an implicit “RIYL”, then you won’t be disappointed.
Throughout Spirit Guides, Bonnetta echoes the sounds of his peers – Ohbijou’s orchestral flourishes, the Wooden Sky’s rustic melancholy, Bruce Peninsula’s ghostly chorals, The Acorn’s nimble balancing of folk and rock – and as such, sounds and feels immediately comfortable to anyone who’s been following the sound of Toronto/southern Ontario over the last few years. Sublimated together, however, they form something that’s so cohesive and perfectly suited to the songs they adorn, that focusing on its familiarity is to miss the point entirely.
Wearing reverb like an early morning fog, Spirit Guides is the sound of Bonnetta wandering through the wilderness, both literally and allegorically, burdened by memory and regret and searching for salvation, shelter, something – anything. His voice is warm and worn, inherently a thing of the earth, but it still seeks to soar and when buoyed by the host of ethereal backing vocals, manages to do so. And for all the weightiness that’s implied, Spirit Guides is still every bit a pop record, full of wonderful melodies and hooks and, most importantly, the ability to make the deepest melancholia feel uplifting. It’s a lonely record that never feels alone. And though I didn’t realize it on initial listens, perhaps too busy playing “who does this remind me of”, it’s wholly remarkable and quite possibly essential.
Evening Hymns is marking the record’s release with a couple of shows next week – a free in-store at Soundscapes on Wednesday, December 2 at 7PM and a full and proper show at the Tranzac on December 4. Tickets for that will be $10 at the door but courtesy of Out Of This Spark, I’ve got a copy of Evening Hymns on CD to give away along with a couple of passes to the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to sing an Evening Hymn” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me by midnight, December 1.
Brian Borcherdt, who opened up for The Wooden Sky at Lee’s a couple weeks back has made good on his promise to release a free album – Torches is available to grab from his website now. And it’s a double-set, no less. Or it would be if it actually existed in physical form. But you could burn it onto two discs and pretend. I will shut up now. Or after I mention he’s also got a new video from his last record Coyotes.
The Hylozoists have scheduled a show at the Whipper Snapper Gallery on December 17 to celebrate the release of a new video for “Bras d’Or Lakes”. Until then, it remains heard and not seen.
A track from Fucked Up’s forthcoming singles collection – Couple Tracks, out January 26 – is now available to download. I Heart The Music has posted an interview with frontman Damian Abraham just before their Polaris Prize win in September.
Spinner talks to Sloan’s Chris Murphy about the hit-and-run accident which broke his collarbone this Summer and inspired the title of their just-released digital EP Hit & Run. A primarily east-coast tribute album to Sloan was also just released – Take It In is available digitally; check out The Acorn and ex-Plumtree bassist Catriona Sturton do “Snowsuit Sound” on the label’s MySpace.