Monday, March 9, 2009

ALBUM: Everyone All At Once

Every now and then we get something in our inbox that kind of takes us by surprise. We get a fair amount of music sent to us, and not all of it is up our alley - but every so often we get something special that makes us stop and say, "now that's cool." The Rest are one of those something specials (or is it, somethings special? I'm not really sure).

Everyone All At Once, the second album for this group from Hamilton, Ontario, plays like a film score. There are moments of rapturous grandeur right alongside others of hushed reflection. Put simply, this record moved me. There are stunningly beautiful moments weaved into each and every song, and as I sit here trying to write about them I'm finding myself at a loss. I'll do my best, but I think the best thing to do, as always, is to just go and listen for yourself.

Many of the songs, like the album opener 'Coughing Blood/Fresh Mountain Air', are sprawling works that call to mind Sigur Ros's majestic sinks and swells. Great big sweeping strings are utilized often, as well as all sorts of other instrumentation. But while almost all of these ten tracks have a sprawling quality to them, there are still moments of almost folky down-to-earth-ness, like the acoustic guitar underlying 'Sheep In Wolves' Clothing' and the bouncy opening of 'Blossom Babies Part Two'. With the vast array of instrumentation behind him, it might be easy for lead singer Adam Bentley's voice to get lost in the shuffle, but it doesn't. In fact he covers some impressive ground here on his own, at times conjuring Matt Berninger's dark baritone, at others Stuart Murdoch's clear tenor.

Several of these songs clock in right around the 5 minute mark, and there are lots of twists and turns throughout each one, like the abrupt shift halfway through 'Phonetically, Phonetically' from shimmering ambiance to sprightly piano chords and jovial finger-plucking. 'Apples and Allergies', the first single, also starts relatively slow only to build to a bombastic and majestic climax. My absolute favorite song is the album's final track, 'Everything All At Once' - it fuses swelling orchestration with varying vocal parts, all underneath a surprisingly poppy melody line. The tempo shift comes halfway through and the song starts into a slow burn underneath Bentley's airy falsetto, slowly marching forward to a fantastic and fitting finish to this beautiful record.

Everyone All At Once is out April 21st on Auteur Recordings.

(Also, side note - does the title font on their cover remind anyone else of those old Lord of the Rings animated films from like 1980? Just wondering.)

The Rest - Apples & Allergies
from the album Everyone All At Once (buy it here on April 21st)

The Rest - Everything All At Once
from the album Everyone All At Once (buy it here on April 21st)

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