Artist :: St. Clair
Album :: EP
Label :: DIY
Play This Cut First :: So Long
In a word :: Retrogressive
It's amazing how an EP that clocks in at just about 17 minutes can make you think so much. St. Clair pulls it off, however. That alone should be a testament to the power of good songwriting.
Musically, EP follows a path that seems to have been all but abandoned near the end of the 1990s. As the melodic-pop-post-hardcore sounds of bands like Yellowcard rose to the surface, a booming alt-rock movement that blended lo-fi dream pop production with shoegazer songwriting quickly decayed.
When you listen to EP, however, you get the sense that, had that path continued to be worn, that it would lead to St. Clair. The lo-fi sensibilities and beautiful lush reverbs that accent reverse guitar lines and deep pads are the stuff that production values were built upon. Couple that with dynamic vocal approach of vocalist, Jeff Geady, and you get an inspiring piece of alt-rock that seems to occupy a lone place in time.
When I say dynamic vocal approach, I'm talking about styles. Some cuts, like the raw Angels of Downtown showcase melodic vocal harmonies reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate, while cuts like Stars Over Toronto and Nordheimer Ravine feature a softer, almost whispering delivery that fans of Iron and Wine will gravitate toward.
Now Playing :: Nordheimer Ravine
Thematically, all of the songs are based on events that actually happened in St. Clair's hometown of Toronto. The city itself comes across as a character in these pieces, much like the city of Dublin effervesces in the works of James Joyce. And echo-drenched harmonica work gives each cut a sense of openness...of stars. In a some respects, it has mirrors shoegazing rock, but with an underlying feeling of peace fostered by solid songwriting and creative production values.
The Bottom Line :: Don't let the relatively short length of EP fool you. While it might be short in duration, it's long on impact. So much so that you'll likely listen to it two are three times at a setting. And for the seven bones it goes for, you can't beat that.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Artist :: St. Clair