Biscuits, Triscuits…

The Most Serene Republic is oh so serene
August 22, 2009, 9:40 pm
Filed under: music and musings

I saw The Most Serene Republic a couple months ago at Cake Shop completely by chance. I had gone to attend Cake Shop’s midnight show with a performance by Asa Ransom and DJing by DJ Coochie Cutter. When I got there, the show that had been going on earlier that night hadn’t ended, and it happened to be The Most Serene Republic. So I got to catch about six songs of their set completely for free. They were really amazing, and it was even more awe-inspiring that the key players are only 24 and putting out their third full-length on Broken Social Scene’s label, Arts & Crafts. It reminded me how much I really enjoy them and that they had a new album out at the time. It’s not quite so new now, but it’s still excellent.

The Most Serene Republic

…And The Ever Expanding Universe

Arts & Crafts

Released July 14, 2009

Seven people strong, The Most Serene Republic’s army of instruments have once again created an album that is stimulating, exuberant and unique. Pulling definitely from label mate’s influences, TMSR also bleeds together styling of other music in a way that sounds really vibrant and refreshing. With jumpy, bubbly instrumentals, strong, clear vocals, and an addition of electronic drums, these songs bounce up and down and come together in a quirkily mismatched, eclectic style of whirs and buzzes. “Heavens to Purgatory,” is beautifully upside down with guitar plucks, and Emma Ditchburn’s jazzy female vocals that melt nicely with Adrian Jewett’s voice.

Managing not to sound like Broken Social Scene is the first feat, but also being able to create really colorful, songs that meld 50’s pop tunes, jazz, electronic music and more modern rock styles in a successful way is pretty great. With plodding bass-lines and swaying vocals that sound like tall grass, it’s really educational listening to The Most Serene Republic. Not because it’s all new, but just because of how they twist it all around. “The Old Forever New Things,” is a beautiful, whispering tune with glistening guitar parts and vocals that sound like two voices dancing together to the fast-paced quiet drums and the sweet piano melody that layer over top. “Don’t Hold Back, Feel A Little Longer,” enters as almost a techno number with clattering electronic drums, but the vocals pinch the song with this modern feel that pulls it out of the 80’s along with the colorful keys.Their songs are extremely well thought out and clearly took time and energy to perfect because of how effortless each piece feels.

Listening to this album I never really want it to end, and at the same time because of how nice it is, I want even more from it. I feel as though their next album will burst out of the seams even more so than this one has, which is quite a lot. There is an amazing bittersweet factor to these songs, where they feel so peaceful and lovely but you know from the lyrics that there is so much raw intensity going into this music. The Most Serene Republic explores their instrumentals even further with completely instrumental numbers and long piano pieces or entrances that are just horns. The shaking percussion is a real exceptional surprise in their music because it could be so much milder than it is, but then they introduce this great backbeat that keeps it fresh and tight.

It would seem that perhaps their style of vocals, this high pitched, swaying, jazzy male/female thing would get tiring, but it still just feels so amazingly light and airy that I can’t get over it. They are just so ruffled and thin yet amazingly aesthetic in their range.  I just can’t really cease to be amazed with The Most Serene Republic; I just wish their name were shorter to type. I recommend this album to any who enjoys the energetic mixtures of instrumentals and a combination of time-warped vocals and upbeat dance drums.


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