|Brendan Canning — You Gots 2 Chill|
Brendan Canning — You Gots 2 Chill
Instruments: Bass guitar, guitar, vocals, keys
Location: Ajax ~ Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Album release: October 1, 2013
Record Label: Draper St Records/SQE™
01. Post Fahey (3:48)
02. However Long (3:09)
03. Turn Again (3:59)
04. Makes You Motor (3:49)
05. Never Go To The Races (4:19)
06. Plugged In (3:46)
07. Long Live Land Lines (0:53)
08. Bullied Days (3:52)
09. New Zealand Tap Dancing Finals (2:54)
10. Once A Lighthouse (0:36)
11. Lightfoot Returns (3:35)
12. Late Night Stars (2:48)
13. Heading There (2:12)
14. Last Song For The Summer Hideaway (3:44)
◊ Brendan J Canning
◊ Steve Singh
Written by: Brian Peterson on October 2, 2013.
◊ Die-hard fans of Broken Social Scene will recognize the name Brendan Canning, but for the greater part of a career he’s been content to work in the background, capably assisting other talented people in creating whatever warped-pop environments their hearts desired. A co-founder of BSS with Kevin Drew, he took a backseat to his more ambitious friend in their beloved group, and even on his official solo debut, 2008’s Something for All of Us…, he surrounded his creations with a team of talented cohorts that diluted the spotlight. You Gots 2 Chill is a more individualized offering from Canning, but fitting with the reserved personality of his career, it’s anything but attention-seeking.
◊ The opener is titled “Post Fahey”, but from the hushed count-off (and hushed everything else), your average indie fan is more likely to think “Post Sufjan”, and that immediate reaction predicts a dilemma of context on Canning’s sophomore record as well as anything. If you think of stylistic trends as swinging on a pendulum, it’s worth pointing out how far we’ve come since Seven Swans — the mid-2000s indie love affair with woodsy-flannel-folk pretty much ended when Mumford & Sons bastardized the sound into oblivion. But Canning is too unassuming to take even that forgiving of a stage by force, making any seemingly intentional niche-filling illusory. He’s far too self-contained and focused to be distracted by far-off dreams of making any kind of splash, which he’s never showed much interest in anyway.
◊ While Mumford & Sons have ridden a stunning lack of ideas all the way to fortune and fame, Canning represents the opposite extreme, as he references a host of folk styles recent and remote but still makes time for touches of the electronic and atmospheric, especially on the early album highlight “However Long”. The best moments of You Gots 2 Chill hit a similar mark, intricately fitting together their various elements to form a whole that’s familiar but distinct. “Last Song for the Summer Hideaway” is the most obviously Sufjan-esque melody and build but opens up instrumentally in a way Seven Swans never did; there’s a lot of The Microphones on “Lighthouse Returns”, where on paper he takes a step toward the straightforward but on record feels strangely cerebral.
◊ The level of detail and the combination of familiar sounds in slightly new ways is enough to intellectually stimulate the listener to a point. Canning isn’t totally lacking for ideas or fumbling the execution of the ones he’s got, but he’s missing a fundamental appeal of the genre, emotional resonance, and comparing his work to that of his influences makes the point crystal clear. The truth is that Sufjan’s simplest songs are often his most powerful, where all of his well-schooled orchestration gives way to a spiritual push that feels earned. And for all it’s brainy plays with structure and pacing, The Glow Pt. 2 would get nothing from its unique feel without the bursts of raw urgency, where the convolutions of a human mind come together and form a deep but simple outcry of pain or fear or anger.
◊ You Gots 2 Chill has no such outcries, certainly no tension, and very few easy charms—even the tracks without vocals boast Fahey’s brand of guitar heroics. Some of these songs were recorded on voicemail boxes, others in Canning’s home, but who cares when there’s nothing at stake? Mumford & Sons are clumsy, corny, and dumb, but at least they’re smart enough to try and cheat their way to something worthwhile. ◊ Brendan Canning doesn’t take those shortcuts, but that’s only because he’s not going anywhere. (http://www.listenbeforeyoubuy.net/)
◊ Un bel album solo de l'un des membres fondateurs du collectif canadien "Broken Social Scene". A découvrir.
| By Ted Chase on September 21, 2013
| SQE/Draper Street, 2013 | Rating: 7.5
| As Broken Social Scene’s (QRO spotlight on) hiatus continues, the member of the sprawling alt-rock collective to most use the time has been Brendan Canning. Long the nice guy sideman to BSS frontman Kevin Drew, Canning revived his pre-BSS side-project Cookie Duster last year in When Flying Was Easy (QRO review); Canning’s also coming off of making the soundtrack for the already-infamous Lindsay Lohan/Brett Easton Ellis film, The Canyons. But he delivers the most of himself in his fully solo You Gots 2 Chill.
◊ While the title (and its spelling) is mostly a joke, this is definitely a ‘chill’ record. It’s also not Broken Social Scene by another name, like his & Drew’s respective ‘Broken Social Scene Presents’ albums, Spirit If… (QRO review) and Something For All of Us… (QRO review). Instead, Canning goes low-key and natural – very low-key and natural. ◊ He never raises his voice above a hush on Chill, and his instrumentation likewise is quiet nearly throughout. And while there are indietronic hints in the background, the release is much more woodwind than laptop, apple tree more than Apple MacBook (and even some of the tech is decidedly non-current, such as the two sub-minute instrumentals recorded on answering machines, “Once a Lighthouse” and “Long Live Land Lines”).
|Brendan Canning — You Gots 2 Chill|