Don’t be fooled by the name or the gradually heatingcauldron of hype bubbling around them. Or the fact that they’re chums ofInterpol and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The plume that surroundsMontreal quartet The Stills has been billowed out by them and themalone.
As grandiose in its title as it is in the content, anantidote to the Doves and Turin Brakes has at last been found. Although a couple of tracks in and one could be forgiven for mistaking The Stills as merely the former, frontman Tim Fletcher’sangsty croon-cum-mumble gradually steadies The Stills, as they sail through a majesticneon metropolis of tracks.
Indeed not many bands of late have managed to shuffleinto a New York studio and knock out a sound which is both epic and raw,intricately crafted yet gob-smackingly unpredictable.
Upcoming single LolaStars & Stripes opens things warmly with its foot-tapping anthem-y andby the end you’ll be humming and singing along. Just a pause is givenfor the outro as the immaculate Gender Bombs is even better. Heck, theyshould have released this one – though perhaps the chorus line, “The girlwill screw you,” is a tad too awkward for a stadium rocking hit single.
Alison Krausse is another single candidate, this one arollicking Strokes-y number, which sees Fletcher loosen up and cushionthe catchy hook along with a very Byrds sounding hum.
A nod towards the ’80s is applied with the synth on theupbeat and appropriately titled Ready For It. Here the boys roll into afantastic trip into indie-Americana, with jangly Kings Of Leon hooksand squalling solos before oozing into a slow instrumental delight. It’sambitious and sheer genius to warp from one sound to another so effortlesslyand so discreetly.
But it doesn’t stop there. Animals + Insects isbordering on “experimental” with tight and triangulated percussion, bubblingdrum loops, humming bass and shimmering strings. More Kid A than anythingelse, but again unexpected and to good effect.
Okay, okay, I’ll roll up my tongue and clean up thesaliva. Logic… isn’t, for all its genius, groundbreaking. Of Montreal isaimless crooning and over-indulgence. Love songs and the all together broody’80s feel aren’t the sparks to set your heart racing or head nodding. You’reprobably more likely to stick this on as a filler while doing chores or tocheer you up on a journey. Then again that’s just an assumption. When a bandcomes along and harnesses the sound of Echo & The Bunnymen, TheCure and Mansun, and rotates it like a magician does his cards,then you know its something special.
Not bad for a debut record. Not bad at all…