reviewed by Jack Derricourt
2015 has been a wonderful musical onslaught so far. I know, I’m supposed to hold back, not jump to conclusions, retain a critical distance; but the good indie tunes keep rolling out of the digital interfaces or cassette recorders and into my ears. I can’t help but get enthusiastic.
Montreal’s YouYourself&i is more of the (excellent) same: the new Heart Static EP is delicate, musical cherry blossom of experimental folk. There’s Scott Walker depth to the four tracks. Everything is sinister and beautiful, there’s no fat to be found, just the straight goods. The free flowing melodies of the guitar lead off on many pathways, like a Dantean journey into the circles of the underworld; the mascot sound of the album is a fog horn trailing off across the water.
The acoustic guitar is the anchor of the EP. Buzzed whispers fade in and out from white noise and synthesizers and drums. The vocals sit back in a deck chair, glass of wine in hand, refusing to get up to lend much of a hand. But it works: the vocals on “Mummies” sound properly undead, with fluttering birds of synth lines sounding off around the threadbare air of tragedy.
In its simplest essence, the EP is about the spaces that develop between hopes and realities. No song finds resolution in its content, leaving listeners on edge. In “Weeds,” the speaker asks “It’s a weird world isn’t it / One where I’m still in love with you?” There is no expectation of coming to terms, merely expression. The twisted, funeral march that ends the relatively short tune, shows no other way forward but suffering and persistence. It’s captivating, like all the tracks on the EP.
My personal favourite is “Fredmir,” an eight minute account of the speaker’s return to a childhood landscape. The repeated line, “wanderings,” says it all for me in terms of the direction of the record. Every piece on the EP is a stride through themes, loosely decorated and arranged around guitar pluckery and soft spoken sense. “Fredmir” has the added luxury of some spoken word thrown into the mix, a lovely, Velvet Underground vibe in the midst of the folk elements.
As snow continues to fall in Toronto, a bright white sense of renewal contaminates the ground of 2015. I can think of no better sound to accompany this sight than Heart Static. Feel the vibe, hear the warmth.
Top Track: “Fredmir”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)