The Most Serene Republic have really not been picked up by the "band to watch out for" radar. In fact, the album cover for this Toronto based group screams "We're trying really hard to be creative, so this is what we came up with!". And, no, while it's not the most appealing cover in music history, it doesn't fail to represent the music. It's you're pretty basic indie, with a little dabs of influences ranging from Death Cab for Cutie
to the fellow A&Cers Broken Social Scene
, both favourites of mine. The problem with this six-piece group is that their not original in the least, something that can serve as a huge turn off to a rather large amount of listeners. But here they are anyway, a band that's anything but loud, beautiful and occasionally extremely annoying.
The Most Serene Republic - Underwater Cinematographer
This album screams with influences, but as already said it's unlikely to hear anything new in the bunch. This hits hard on a good portion of tracks, therefore rendering them unoriginal but, keep this in mind, they can be extremely enjoyable. On the other hand, the few acoustic/slower songs on this album don't really have a plagiarism kind of aspect to it, but moreso a "How can we make this song original?" kind of theme. One example on this album is the song Proposition 61
, which clocks in at a slim 3:07, which is somewhat fitting as the band seems to want to make it a song that isn't necessarily memorable, but rather a song that's easy listening. To add to this, the band adds accordions, bongos and limits the theatrics that can untimately take a horrible turn on the song. Hell, even a beatbox can come in and come to aid of this song. But, alas, due to it's minimal length, this song could've been so much more, and not the catchy filler track that it is. But, fortunately, this song tends to entertain just because of the layers and variety of instruments introduced.
Some songs are equally enjoyable, but somewhat obtuse. The first official song on the album, Content Was Always My Favourite Color
, features a Benjamin Gibbard vocal performance over a song that Death Cab For Cutie themselves were never meant to sing. Though the music is listenable, somewhat exciting and, ahem, futuristic sounding, this song fails to connect the pieces with what's listenable, what's creative and what's purely ridiculous. Ridiculous may sound harsh, but when you listen to the song it becomes increasingly vivid; these guys take a decent song, add electronic drums and an overwhelming wall of just pure fuzz noise, and add those vocals. The formula fails to work, but it's good attempt at something different just for the sole reason that nothing else sounds exactly like it. It�s original, sure, but is that a really great thing considering this band is heavily
influenced by other bands? This is a recurring issue. Songs like Relative's Eyes
begin to take on the toll of the aged folk singer returning from a ten year hiatus and not realizing that what's popular has changed. Apparenly, Republic here want to make a place for this in music again, while adding some nice but un-inspired choruses. Even before it actually happens, the song seems to bellow that there's going to be a chanting background vocal performance. Predictable, yes, but rather enjoyable.
Of course, considering these guys have some great influences then they must make some excellent songs, right? When does the Stars
influence set in? Will we hear any impressive musical performances with grand orchestrations and brilliant twists in the music? Well, to the listener who's true at heart to the progression of A&C music, it takes a while to warm up to. But when the feeling settles in, then it's easy to enjoy such corkers as The Protagonist Suddenly Realizes What He Must Do In The Middle Of Downtown Traffic
, which doesn't echo with geniune intelligence in the title, but the music is as entertaining as it gets on this album. Featuring a pumped up acoustic guitar and a rather stunning, hammering piano performance and the eventual build-up of sharp guitars and spectacular, gleaming rhythm performances. The band doesn't end up forgetting their influences, but this is as good as anything Broken Social Scene
have done. Eventually, another song hits the listener in the brain and leaves a gaping mark - the finale Epilogue
boasts a futuristic aura, reminiscent to that of latter day music by The Flaming Lips
. It's spacey, zoned out and focused on delivering beauty and geniunity with thumping drums, stoner keys and the phased guitar sound of the 1970's. The song doesn't really come together as a piece of melody, but it's a very entertaining listen just for the sheer fact that it's a thought-provoking listen.
The stroke of darkness can come across the album, where such songs as You're A Loose Cannon, McArthur... But You Get The Job Done
may be pretty vague in terms of what's dark and what's rather joyous, but the title says it all. It's like listening to someone's mind going crazy, but making it somewhat beautiful and piano laced (nothing shocking, really) song that promises that the band can bring arguable topics such as suicide to the table and still make it incredible to listen to. Probably the sole really dark song on the album, this song brings a sort of story along with it. You can picture a man, or a careerist, if you will, alone in a room with a shotgun. The man is a hitman and has no friends. He decides to shoot himself. A relatively depressing yet thought-provoking picture painted by this song, and it's incredible.
So it's not as groundbreaking as 2005's Broken Social Scene, but this album does contain the sort of music that can make it a very rewarding experience. But, alas, as far as variety goes this album can go from incredible to incredibly boring. Such is the problem with this album. You can get you're hopes up for a somewhat silly reason; you've heard an amazing song and you expect all of the songs to be like that. This is not the case with this band. As said numerous times, this band's influences can either make a great piece of music or a poppy, misfit and radio-friendly song that The Goo-Goo Dolls
might admire to a great extent. But, for the sheer enjoyability this album has to offer, this album is worth the buy.