Album Reviews: July 19, 2017

Toro Y Moi – Boo Boo (South Carolina)

Jumping into his latest set of textures, Chazwick Bundick moves to his most 70's infused effort yet. While not always the most focused record, there's so much going on sonically that it's hard to pull yourself away. "Mirage" opens the album on retro rhythms in a wash of synths, all laced with Bundick's twisted vision. Going even more pop-fueled, "Mona Lisa" focuses all the ambient sounds and far-reaching tones, crafting something both catchy and interesting as a result. The drums and beats of "Don't Try" carry it through its much darker moods, with a stirring piano line and electronic bliss to make its extensive run-time a little more bearable. "Inside My Head" throws in frantic bass full of emotion, that overcomes a lot of the album's stifled creative moments for a track that transcends the album.

Noprica – Lil' Blue (Ottawa)

In the continuing narrative of Ottawa's internet borne, instrumental maestros, Noprica crafts some stirring club-ready tracks that will make you think too. "Clouded" starts the record with such a hefty bass and drum push that you're already set to dance before the wondrous flute hooks take over the track. Adding to the sonic depth on "Endless Storm" the synth layers go deep as melodic stabs fall in and out of the track, the closing violin riffs hit even harder, making the closing of the track an even fuller experience. "Lil' Blue" flickers along with endless refrains of electronic life, with the underlying crawl of the beat. The off syncopation of the bridge throws in just the right sense of direction to give the track a second face. Swelling on a sparkle of synths, "Station 714" pushes with not only a sense of stirring life more than any track on the record, it also crafts such a strong mood that it feels like it has an entire narrative built into its sound.

Haim – Something To Tell You (California)

After a string of singles, sister-trio Haim pushed out one album that mostly delivered, a few years later, they reach further while offering mixed results. On an album that's quite ambitious, they unfortunately find themselves struggling to always stay accessible despite the unique production. Opening on "Want You Back," they build a sprawling rush of sound, laden with harmonies and their classic long-running vocal lines. The dynamic kick of "You Never Knew" drives the track forward, letting endless memorable hooks make the unconventional production stand out. On sublime bass, "Kept Me Crying" builds from sparse, rolling drums to a pompous finale that brings it all together perfectly. Going into hopeful yet searching territory, "Night So Long" bringing in high synths and shining guitars for a heavily varied track.

Durs Coeurs – Dur Dur Dur (Ottawa)

Showing off just how intense Ottawa's punk scene is, francophone thrashers Durs  Coeurs are screaming their way back onto the scene. "Intro / L'Enclume" starts the album on a tribal chant and throttling of drums, bringing the primal emotions out of their listeners. Moving to the track's second half, the breakneck bass and drums along with the cheers create their own unstoppable energy that carries the track across the finish line. On so many gritty guitars, "Château de Cartes" beats away with a fierce energy, while occasionally feeling a tad predictable despite the sheer enjoyment it presents. The more pop-punk sound of "Mensonges" finds a much more polished and focused amount of sound, with the bass especially standing out. The overall feeling the band creates within this spread of sound elevates the track above a simple track to something complete. At the album's darkest "L'eau Et Le Feu" carries a much heavier sense of tone, and the menacing pus of the drums makes the track hit all the harder, especially through the chorus cries.

Broken Social Scene – Hug Of Thunder (Toronto)

While it's been all too long since the last record from Canadian indie-collective Broken Social Scene, getting the whole gang back together for this one certainly eased the bad blood. Roaring like a living beast, "Halfway Home" encapsulates the natural energy they've always excelled at, with so many extra touches in the sound that it's instantly audible they have some extra members back. "Vanity Pail Kids" shrieks with rough guitars as it rolls along with pounding drums and soars on massive harmonies. Leslie Feist's vocals are so refreshing on "Hug Of Thunder" as she complements the frantic instrumentation and mood of the song thanks to her speedy hooks. The sharp lyrics along with the increasingly explosive choruses make the song one that will stick in your head and have you moving more and more on each listen. On a steady kick "Please Take Me With You" builds layers of tone, to make its saddened refrain all the more impactful. The rollicking drum lines and tumbling synths work together to make a sound just as hurt as the narrator's words would imply.