Saturday, 22 December 2007

Canadian indie-pop singles round-up

Single Reviews for The Skinny

young galaxy - outside the city (arts & crafts, **)

There’s definitely a Canadian indie-pop aesthetic: well-mannered romantic dream-pop with tightly controlled outbursts of passion, and always a male-female vocal duo. Adding to this over-stuffed market are Young Galaxy, a Vancouver male-female duo who carefully calculate their noisy swirls of emotion in an effort to inject edge into otherwise generic twaddle. It doesn’t work – it’s turned into a formula and is becoming generic itself. Even the originators of the Canadian revival are struggling to progress without a change of direction, the last thing we need are late arrivals wearing cheaper clothes.

stars - the night starts here (city slang, **)

Canadian indie-poppers Stars involve three members of Broken Social Scene, but don’t show any of their verve or bluster here. With over-polished production and twee spaceman synths, Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan make unfathomable drama out of whispered clichés like “forget your name, forget your fear” and “we’ll be angels after all.” Perhaps in the context of the album it’s a barnstormer but, on its own, The Night Starts Here is as sweet as melted marshmallow, and as sickly too.

kevin drew - safety bricks (city slang, ***)

It’s not easy to say why Kevin Drew’s Spirit If... is not the new Broken Social Scene album we’ve all been hoping for: packed with charming and catchy songs like Safety Bricks, it lacks only the focus to keep it a concise, fatless full-length. Safety Bricks is one of the happy-clappy songs, the one where he coos “woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo” like a courting bird of paradise, over a thrusting, shuffling rhythm, and in between romantic promises. Like the best pop, it’s fleetingly lovely and entirely disposable in equal measures.

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