RELEASE
June 03, 2003
LABEL
Rounder
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter

Album Review

Perhaps more accessible and "mainstream" than his solo debut, Coke Machine Glow, Gordon Downie opens this album with the minimal yet evolving "Into the Night," a song that brings to mind "Flamenco" by his main project, the Tragically Hip. From there the album takes a noticeable loud turn on "Figment," which would draw comparisons to Neil Young & Crazy Horse, a boisterous garage rock tune. "All of my heroes are women/And most of them are cinnamon," Downie sings, a possible inference to Young's "Cinnamon Girl." The singer's knack for vivid yet quirky lyrics is on display during "Christmastime in Toronto," a rather straightforward, radio-friendly rock track that borrows a line from Anton Chekov. Only in a few instances does Downie head into a heady, poetry-centered milieu, especially on "Willow Logic." Alternating between his vocals and a person speaking on a cell phone, the song has a dreamy pop quality to it. The debut single, "Pascal's Submarine," has a bouncy, grandiose ensemble feeling to it, reminiscent of groups like the Hidden Cameras and Polyphonic Spree. Tubas, harmonicas, pianos, and sweet harmonies drive the galloping percussion along. "11th Fret" is also strong, a number mixing '70s-era David Bowie with a lyrical slant toward cheating honky tonk standards. The global sound of "Who by Rote" is the album's spoken-word moment, but the song never hits the ground running. The shining moment is the downbeat acoustic-meets-jazz flare of "Steeplechase." Resembling something off of the Tragically Hip's Day for Night, the song runs into a George Martin-like wall of sound before Julie Doiron lends her fragile vocals. Just as noteworthy is the heartfelt "More Me Less You," reeking of country influences. Two versions of the same song are rather ordinary, but the first effort seems more memorable than the second. Yet another solid stepping stone by one of Canada's finest writers!
Jason MacNeil, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Into the Night
  2. Figment
  3. Christmastime in Toronto
  4. Willow Logic
  5. Pascal's Submarine
  6. 11th Frethttp://itunes.apple.com/album/11th-fret/id31691581?i=389176192&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  7. Who by Rote
  8. Steeplechase
  9. More Me Less You
  10. We're Hardcore
  11. Pillform, No. 2
  12. Pillform, No. 1