Reviewed by Michael
I do my very best to be supportive of all Canadian artists of all genres, and I tried to give this album a score of at least 3/4. But I was unable.
It is very difficult to describe which of the many music genres this Vancouver duo belong to. The style is essentially pop-rock with a lot of fast talking by the lead singer, Kristen Cudmore. The album seems like it is trying to revive the glory days of everyone’s life- the time spent in elementary school.
The album starts off with the song “Cavity” which at one point enquires what would happen if the entire world were made of candy. It seems like something you would hear in children’s music, not music for full-grown adults.
One thing the duo strives to achieve is the art of using metaphor poetically. While it may be good, in some cases it is just baffling. The chorus of the song “Coughdrop” goes “Can I be your coughdrop?” With not much verse beforehand, it is up to the listeners to decide what that means. If that was the intention of Language-Arts, then they nailed it.
The instrumentals are definitely the high point of this album. Cudmore, as well as her bandmate Gregor Philips blend a simple acoustic guitar and bass sound most of the time with great effect. The beauty of some of the music is evident in the opening of “Grandfather of the Buffalo.”
The vocals are an enigma. At one point early on in the listening I actually got a headache from Cudmore’s voice, which is not high-pitched, but her vocals come out oddly. That and her enunciation is off in some places, but then, some of the greatest bands’ vocalists cannot be understood all the time. Cudmore’s lung capacity is definitely strong, showcased when she goes into a fast string of words in a few of the songs.
Some of the songs are just too long. The melodies work well in shorter doses; the combination of continued melody and the slightly annoying tone of Cudmore’s voice make longer songs like “Stay There” harder to listen to.
Finally, even with these criticisms, there is a certain catchiness to some songs, like the album’s title track. It is all very confusing. I believe it was Language-Arts’ attempts to be poetically valid that made this album as disappointing as it was.
Top Tracks: “Where Were You in the Wild?”, “Grandfather of the Buffalo”
2 Hoots (out of 4)