Review Summary: Latin indie rock...done by Canadians!
World music is not the most popular form of music by any means. Strange instruments and foreign languages just don’t seem to resonate with the general public. However, bands like The Mars Volta, and now, Apostle Of Hustle have tried to fuse the sounds of the world with conventional rock and indie fare. The result is a fun, light trip that shows what can happen when you think outside the box.
Apostle Of Hustle is a Canadian band whose first release Folkloric Feel went largely unnoticed by the general public. Their sophomore effort, National Anthem Of Nowhere, could be the breakthrough they’ve hoped for. The album is a satisfying, fun mix of Latin flavor and indie rock spunk.
The album opener, “My Sword Hand’s Anger”, is indie rock at its finest, with its spacious groove and light air. I don’t see how it’s possible to dislike this song.
The next track, National Anthem Of Nowhere, is also the single. This song is heavier than the first track, but still maintains the lightness, giving it a slight edge. However, this song seems too long for its own good, clocking in at 5:12.
The third song, The Naked And Alone, is darker still, featuring keyboards that give the song a slight Latin feel and multiple vocal layers that feel more like another instrument than a focal point.
The next song Haul Away is a bit different. It has a southwestern feel in the intro, but the chorus is just effect laden vocals and a drum beat with the lyrics “Haul away, boys haul away” repeated several times. The verse brings back the other instruments, but it’s really nothing new, and the chorus brings the whole song down.
Cheap Like Sebastian, the fifth track, is a bit of a return to form. A subtle keyboard line and simple drum beat provide the backbone to this song. Everything seems to be clicking in this song, highlighted by some very nice background vocals and a great groove. A definite improvement over Haul Away.
iRafaga!, the next tune, seems to be the lowlight of the album to me. It is one of the “world songs”, but it seems to have gone overboard. It is very Latin, complete with maracas and Spanish lyrics. I’m really not a fan of this song.
The next song, Chances Are, is pretty much just standard indie pop. Nothing really all that special. A Rent Boy Goes Down is song number eight, and I quite like it. It is a nice indie rock/pop tune at the beginning, but is given a nice edge about thirty seconds in with a much more tastefully done Latin breakdown than in iRafaga! . The verse features a piano and the chorus is just a repeat of the intro. Really the biggest highlight is that transition about 30 seconds in.
Fast Pony For Victor Jara is the next track and is another Latin jam. It is kept pretty light, but is kind of boring, even at 3:26.
The next track, Justine Beckoning, is definitely one of the highlights. It is fairly conventional rock, but features a great breakdown that keeps the song light, fluffy, and delicious. This is a very nice song, rivaling “My Sword Hand’s Anger” for the top song.
Jimmy Scott Is The Answer brings the mood down considerably. This is another lowlight. Repetitive, boring, and simple there is just really nothing special about this song. Basically, just picture some boring indie-pop, and you've got the gist of this song.
The closer ,NoNoNo, is very simplistic and moody, but in a good way. Voice and guitar are the two main instruments. It lacks the charm of some of the other songs, but, all-in-all, is a nice closer for a nice album.
So, in conclusion, this album is a light mix of Latin spice and indie fun. Some of the songs might drag, but when Apostle Of Hustle is good, they are good. Check out “My Sword Hand’s Anger” and Justine Beckoning.