Just when I think I’ve heard every strange Canadian band there is to hear, I get one more, and that is extra happy ghost!!! who are releasing their full-length album, Modern Horses, today.
This album has an indescribable sound, though I will try and describe it. It’s alt-pop with a lot of experimentation, though that description doesn’t do it much justice either. It’s a sound you’ll just have to experience. The first comparison that comes to mind is Women, but a little more dense and a lot more psychedelic.
The album was produced by Chad VanGaalen, and one might be able to tell that he had some influence on it. There’s certainly a lot of measurable weirdness in this album, and weirdness is one that can easily be attributed to VanGaalen.
The album’s nine songs are very, very dense. This is not an album that can be easily absorbed in one, two, or possibly even three listens. There is so much going on both vocally and musically that it’s hard to keep track of everything. There is sparse guitar, crunchy base, analogue tapes and so much more.
“Mercy, Mercy” is the album opener and it is probably the easiest song to take in, with sparse electric guitar riffs, a steady bass line and the occasional organ. After that, the music goes off the deep end and gets thicker and at times even incomprehensible. There are multiple vocalists- Matthew Swann does most of the work, though Laura Leif is present at parts.
The album reaches the height of its craziness at “j23439” (if the title doesn’t give it away already) where the song actually feels like it has two parts that don’t seem to be in sync but somehow work.
I didn’t understand most of the lyrics when I listened, but a few more listens should uncover some interesting lyrics. The album title and title track refer to nine horses who panicked and jumped off a bridge in Calgary in 2005. This album is just as disconcerting. The nine songs may overwhelm, but those with patience will be rewarded.
Top Tracks: “Fire on Fire”; “Modern Horses”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)