July 30th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments
Lies On The Prize
(Unfamiliar Records; 2008)
Snailhouse’s latest album, Lies on the Prize, is a cohesive album of homely, resonant folk songs written by a thoughtful and intriguing artist. The album shares some of it’s sensibilities (such as orchestral flourishes and modestly complex percussion) with other Canadian acts such as Broken Social Scene. At the same time it’s Canadian-folksy feel and powerful lyrics bare comparison to BSS-related artists such as Bill Priddle (of The Priddle Concern) and Jason Collette.
While the album is hardly a bare-bones affair (strings and steel-guitar are not uncommon compliments to the drums-bass-guitars set-up), it does have a sort of stripped down, wooden-shack feel. Even though the majority of the album is electric, it always feels acoustic. This is augmented further by Mark Feuerstack’s warm, familiar voice. As a singer, Feuerstack impresses with his effortlessly gentle – but never fragile – vocals.
While the album is filled with enough folksy hooks to satisfy any pop-lover, the lyrics push this album from merely enjoyable to an actual intellectual and emotional experience. Feuerstack’s reflections on life are often intriguing, sometimes paradoxical, as on “Superstitious” in which he sings, “I’m not superstitious but I’m not not-superstitious”. Other songs such as “Salvation Army” boast a bitter honesty in lines like “Go on then/Make me your friend/but don’t think that you won’t be lied to.”
In the end, Lies on the Prize is very much a mood-record; one for the rainy days spent alone in your room or your car. In it’s best moments (such as the rising and fallings crescendos on “Fire Alarm”), phrases and changes reach out and grab hold of you and then let go, leaving you feeling a little more human. Those moments are hard to find; 98% of records don’t have any, actually. For that reason alone Snailhouse’s latest is a keeper. Like in life, those few precious moments are all you need.