Album Reviews

The Stills – Logic Will Break Your Heart

(Vice) UK release date: 23 February 2004

The Stills - Logic Will Break Your Heart Don’t be fooled by the name or the gradually heating cauldron of hype bubbling around them. Or the fact that they’re chums of Interpol and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The plume that surrounds Montreal quartet The Stills has been billowed out by them and them alone. As grandiose in its title as it is in the content, an antidote 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’s angsty croon-cum-mumble gradually steadies The Stills, as they sail through a majestic neon metropolis of tracks.

Indeed not many bands of late have managed to shuffle into a New York studio and knock out a sound which is both epic and raw, intricately crafted yet gob-smackingly unpredictable. Upcoming single Lola Stars & Stripes opens things warmly with its foot-tapping anthem-y and by the end you’ll be humming and singing along. Just a pause is given for the outro as the immaculate Gender Bombs is even better. Heck, they should have released this one – though perhaps the chorus line, “The girl will screw you,” is a tad too awkward for a stadium rocking hit single.

Alison Krauss is another single candidate, this one a rollicking Strokes-y number, which sees Fletcher loosen up and cushion the catchy hook along with a very Byrds sounding hum. A nod towards the ’80s is applied with the synth on the upbeat and appropriately titled Ready For It. Here the boys roll into a fantastic trip into indie-Americana, with jangly Kings Of Leon hooks and squalling solos before oozing into a slow instrumental delight. It’s ambitious and sheer genius to warp from one sound to another so effortlessly and so discreetly. But it doesn’t stop there. Animals + Insects is bordering on “experimental” with tight and triangulated percussion, bubbling drum loops, humming bass and shimmering strings. More Kid A than anything else, but again unexpected and to good effect.

Okay, okay, I’ll roll up my tongue and clean up the saliva. Logic… isn’t, for all its genius, groundbreaking. Of Montreal is aimless 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’re probably more likely to stick this on as a filler while doing chores or to cheer you up on a journey. Then again that’s just an assumption. When a band comes along and harnesses the sound of Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure and Mansun, and rotates it like a magician does his cards, then you know it’s something special. Not bad for a debut record. Not bad at all.

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