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I Give You... Canoe!

Amazing Grease Records

Every now and again, I have to stop myself in my tracks. I get so wrapped up in my own listening patterns that I resist the new. After the first listen of Canoe's debut album I Give You… Canoe!, I was quick to write them off as a knock-off The Strokes with a little Jon Spencer Blues Explosion thrown into the mix. I was wrong though. There are similarities to be found between the bands; pop influenced song structure, lackadaisical lyrics, hazy vocals that still linger, and a uniqueness of sound that sets them apart from the majority of radio played bands out there.
But the differences are key for this three-piece from Austin, TX; mainly through a steady and driving pounding of the drums by Joe Salinas, the band maintains a momentum that seems like it would kill a normal band after 5 songs. Justin Preston's vocals contain melodies that cannot help but be hummed, (while his keyboards border on simple and repetitive filler) which makes Canoe a bit catchier and more upbeat than its contemporaries. Zach Ground's guitar work is apt for this situation but does not receive the attention it needs in the final groundwork of the album; the band's tidal wave of sound is so full that the individual elements get lost in the deluge.

My biggest complaint about this album is its garage rock sound, which could be attributed to its producer. If I were in control of the universe, I would have cleaned up a lot of the muddy nature of this album to bring out its true shine. While the hazy effect on the vocals is interesting, it should be saved for emphasis instead of as a single setting throughout the album. While the drums were my favorite thing about this album, I would not have used as much cymbal crashing (it gets annoying). And like I said above, the guitar is simply washed out by the other soft noises present to be as effective as it could be. But hey, they wanted a garage rock sound and they got it.

With that out of the way, I have to say I really enjoyed this album. "Don't Tell" is a very catchy song, while "Feed the Raccoon" is what I was constantly skipping back to listen to. Tongue-in-cheek songs don't sit well with me, and I have to say "Corndogs Are Our Friends" was way too silly for my tastes when I first listened to it. And then it happened, after three listens to the album, I go to the copier in my office and what am I whistling? "Corndogs Are Our Friends" Damn.

Overall, if you like The Strokes but would like them to rock more, or you like feel-good pop nonsense with a drive, go buy Canoe. After listening to them about five times now I would really like to see them live and catch some of their energy. Not every band is a subtle genius, but then again not every band is capable of moving.


Track Listing:

1. (-------)
2. All At Once
3. Don't Tell
4. C'mon
5. Do It So Well
6. Digicat
7. Girlfriend
8. Panty Pile
9. Feed The Raccoon
10. Corndogs Are Our Friends
11. Women Of The World
12. Settle Down…I'll Never

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