The Most Serene Republic – And the Ever Expanding Universe

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

Canada’s The Most Serene Republic have spent the majority of their career flying just below the radar of most indie music fans, but at their newest album, And the Ever Expanding Universe, demonstrates, this young group has continued to mature in more ways than mere age, honing their craft of compiling mini-suites of pop.   Such a progression alone warrant accolades, but the fact that the band has continued to form into a tightly knit group with songs to back it up is an entirely different achievement in and of itself.

“Heavens to Purgatory” is the second track on the album, opening with gentle guitar strumming and Adrian Jewett’s vocals sweeping highly.  Enter drums and female vocals from stage left.  Then the vocals of Emma Ditchburn take over, leading you towards the chorus and insurmountable joy.  Dripping off is a gentle usage of horns a la Broken Social Scene.

Up to bat next is “Vessels of a Donor Look,” a song with a certain amount of swing to it.  It’s as if the band combined their own touch of multi-instrumental indie rock with lounge tropicalia.  You’ll find that this song is one that demands repeat listens, begging for you to grab a cocktail and enjoy the rest of the show that is And the Ever Expanding Universe.

The longest song on the album, “Patternicity,” again seems to be constructed of multiple arrangements within the arrangements themselves.  It’s as if the band approached the writing here with a touch of a composer’s attitude, which makes sense since rumor has it that band constructs their songs around piano pieces.  Although instrumental, this song ultimately rewards in its ability to shift from one perspective to another. Uplifting.

And for their third album, the band begins to wear some of their influences by fellow Canadians a bit more openly.  “Four Humours” sounds oddly like an outtake from an early Stars record, but make no mistake, the band owns this song. Their moderate flourishes of musicianship appear in the middle of the song as the bass takes a short walk just before the song returns to the fold.

Two things are amiss on this record.  First, Jewett doesn’t take nearly as prominent a role as he has in the past, which seems odd considering his live showmanship.  Second, there appear to be a lot of electronic flourishes throughout the album, which isn’t bad as a whole, just a continued departure from where the band began in the early years.

All said and done, And the Ever Expanding Universe is perhaps the most complete album the group has produced to date, leading most to assume that the group will only continue to climb further as they grow.  We’ll surely be hearing from The Most Serene Republic again.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/03-vessels-of-a-donor-look.mp3]

Download: The Most Serene Republic – Vessels of a Donor Look [MP3]

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