The Stills, who broke on the scene back in 2003 with the lauded ‘Logic Will Break Your Heart’, are from Montreal and having been spoiled rotten on good Canadian bands of late I expected much from this lot. As a difficult second album, “Without Feathers” was probably made all the more tricky by one of the main men jumping ship due to ‘musical reasons’. Not to be defeated, the drummer, Dave Hamelin, stepped up to write the songs, sing the songs and traded the skins for strings to play the songs on guitar (which looks a little bit big for him on the ‘destroyer’ video).
‘In the beginning’ appropriately starts things off as a general introduction to the type of indie-rock and lyrical themes (heartbreak and headaches) we can expect on the rest of the album. This is followed swiftly by ‘Destroyer’ a jolly sounding track with a driving beat and an uplifting horn section which backs Hamelin as he chirps on about how much he hates someone and how they better pipe down as he’s coming to kick their sorry ass. ‘Helicopters’ is another cracking little tune which has them sounding as close to the Doves as one could get without a lawsuit.
‘The house we live in’ is a nice mellow little number as he tries to persuade his special lady friend not to jump ship, but from then on in the songs never really hit the spot. It feels like they lose their way a bit and compensate for this by over egging it on the keys and horns. I would dedicate a whole paragraph to how ‘Retour A Vega’ really got my goat, but they’re from Quebec so I can forgive them for singing in French and simply mention it in passing.
The influence of the various members of Broken Social Scene who got asked to help out on a few tracks is evident throughout the album, but the ‘scene’ they are not. While there’s enough here to indicate they’ve the potential to match their peers in the future, a couple too many tracks seem like a radio friendly mixture of said good Canadian bands and middle of the road British indie pop bands (I’m thinking Snow Patrol). If it was an EP of the first four tracks then I’d love it, but as I say, maybe I’ve been spoilt and have gotten greedy.
12th Jun 2007 - Tumblr2.5
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