Review – “Forgiver” – Yes We Mystic

yes we mystic forgiverreviewed by Chris Matei

Though I wasn’t familiar with Yes We Mystic prior to receiving the call to review their debut LP, Forgiver, the impression left by the Winnipeg outfit’s breakout work will be enough to stay with me for some time. Unabashedly emotional, lush and far-reaching art rock sensibilities permeate the record, produced by Canadian indie scene veteran Jace Lasek (of the Besnard Lakes and numerous other projects) in a style that brings a wide range of instrumentation – from strings and winds to wide open guitar textures to sequenced beats – into a cohesive space dripping with atmospheric character.

Yes We Mystic radiate a confidence beyond their experience level here, crafting delicately melodic passages and cranking the intensity up and up and up in glittering, thunderous fashion – much in the vein of other established Canadian indie artists coming in the wake of Win Butler and Regine Chassagne’s esteemed family band. There are vulnerable moments and heart-in-mouth tonal shifts, dynamic drumming and interesting experiments that weave synthetic textures into the wider orchestral-alternative canvas. Lyricist Adam Fuhr makes deeply personal and introspective lyrics flow without clutter or cliche.

“Monument” is a highlight here – for its thunderous toms, moody drone and strings, balancing emotive depth and tension. “The Contest of Wit” treats a ballad with a dose of oversaturated, crinkling and cracking vocal distortion, just one of the textural directions that Fuhr and Lasek lay out on the table. One gets the sense that nothing was made off limits in the making of this record: there are cellos, banjos, flutes, tape head warbles, synths, pump organs and who knows what else collected here, all finding their role in creating a diverse but cohesively personal record. “Born into Language” plays with the borders of arena-sized post-rock, and only “Odesssa Steps” falters by way of sounding more like a Hey Rosetta! B-side than it probably should.

Genuinely impressive as a piece of songcraft, a production statement, and an artistic window on complex ideas surrounding its titular theme, Forgiver has certainly made a statement and will be well worth a listen for fans of the beauty and power that defines some of the best acts on the Canadian indie scene.

Top Tracks: “Monument,” “No Harm,” “Ceilings”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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