John K. Samson
Provincial


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
January 20th, 2012 | 79 replies | 11,104 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Weakerthans frontman reconstructs his own world a little more sparsely.

Like one of the characters in John K. Samson's stories that can't focus on what makes him happy through all the slips and tangles, for a while I didn't understand Provincial in the way I've come to do. First, thrown off by its close ties to Reunion Tour, I stumbled through the relationship between songwriter and band, and prepared to write that this solo LP was merely the softer side of The Weakerthans revisited. And, to certain extents, I was right - it certainly relies on picked guitars more than it does momentum. But the point I want to make about Provincial is that "to certain extents" doesn't cut it; this album is one which requires a measure of commitment, and still doesn't quite resolve itself - but why should it have to?

It was in the lyrics of "The Last And" that I found it. Hidden after a puzzling petition-come-song and understated by its lethargic rhythm, Samson details the bit-part role one teacher plays in another's life, returning to the heart-sinking line, "I'm just your little ampersand." The images he creates on this depressing lament best embody how Provincial's nature is that of the best works of fiction; there's space here - moreso, even, than when Samson sang "I stood there on a chair and watched you pray" to close "(hospital vespers)" - and this is a record which invites you, and in parts needs you, to build in those places.

So Provincial is, perhaps, everything you would expect from the man who wrote the songs to which an audience fell silent on Burton Cummings Theater: beautiful, melancholic, based in the real world but never confined to banalities. Slightly more reserved (nothing on the record quite reaches the energy of "When I Write My Master's Thesis"), it is nevertheless capable of things a Weakerthans record might not always be. Among those: the piano-led closer "Taps Reversed", which closes the record fittingly with a sigh; and the last, droning words of "Grace General" - "What will I do now? What will I do now?" Delve a little deeper, of course.



Recent reviews by this author
Mumford and Sons BabelAbel (NY) Make It Right
The Gaslight Anthem HandwrittenMotion City Soundtrack Go
Sigur Ros ValtariSilversun Pickups Neck of the Woods
user ratings (65)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Adrian Hertzberg CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
So Canadian it hurts, eh?...

Evan Wachowski (4.5)
I’m not sure that after listening to this album you’ll know exactly what it’s like to live in ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
January 20th 2012



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

this is my first staffdib review so i hope it doesn't suck!

http://soundcloud.com/exclaim/sets/john-k-samson-provincial/s-yPBmv

stream!^

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 20th 2012



7236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really need to give The Weakerthans a listen at some point. I suppose this will do for now.

Eko
January 20th 2012



2119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I've only listened to the stream once but this sounds about right. Dude's amazing.

WeepingBanana
January 20th 2012



9897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

solid album

wabbit
January 20th 2012



6745 Comments


I find this to a better album than any of the weakerthans studio stuff but the songs aren't as good...if that makes any sense


also this is pretty much the most Canadian sounding album ever.

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 20th 2012



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

idk man, something about this is just so mehh for me. His lyrics don't even have the same charm--they feel kinda clunky and forced. There's some good stuff on here but mostly it feels rather inconsequential. I need to give it more listens though.

WeepingBanana
January 20th 2012



9897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I find this to a better album than any of the weakerthans studio stuff but the songs aren't as good...if that makes any sense"

literally makes no sense

porch
January 20th 2012



8390 Comments


lol

WeepingBanana
January 20th 2012



9897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this meal is better than yesterday's but the food isn't as good

Eko
January 20th 2012



2119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'd be down with this turning into a thread discussing how amazing the Weakerthans are

wabbit
January 20th 2012



6745 Comments


it works better as an album and the overall package is better but there aren't as many stand-out songs.

Eko
January 20th 2012



2119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

After one listen I might agree with you but the other way around

Knott-
Emeritus
January 20th 2012



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

idk man, something about this is just so mehh for me. His lyrics don't even have the same charm--they feel kinda clunky and forced. There's some good stuff on here but mostly it feels rather inconsequential.


I thought this too. It's what I was getting at in the write-up - probably ineffectually. It clicked for me through a listen w. the lyrics. It's easy to pass over. I have Robin to thank for my giving it a 7th chance (or whatever).

wabbit
January 21st 2012



6745 Comments


"and I practice my english on nurses "oh that's a nice name"
and they may ask for mine but the burns on my back from the x-ray say I shouldn't show anyone anything ever again. "


Also when I write my master's thesis is the "fuck bitches; get money" of they indie folk genre.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2012



7011 Comments


No, it doesn't Knott =) Mindpos =)

Will give this a go - even if I promised myself like, ten minutes ago that this would be the year that I would focus on more metal/heavier music lol.



clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2012



6248 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So this is pretty good.
Nice review!

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 21st 2012



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Eko, agreeing with someone but "the other way around" is actually just disagreeing with someone.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 21st 2012



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

hahaha

Eko
January 21st 2012



2119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

too true

robin
Emeritus
January 21st 2012



4221 Comments


bloody love this album. have no qualms.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy