From the Constellation
"Do Make Say Think evolved out of early experimental and improvised home recordings by founding members Charles Spearin (bass, trumpet), Justin Small (guitar) and James Payment (drums). Sublimating their rock instincts through dub and lounge filters, they began to brew up a heady batch of psych-tinged instrumentals. Collaborations with fellow Toronto-area musicians Ohad Benchetrit (guitar, horns, keyboards) and Jason MacKenzie (drums, keyboards) led to the formation of a proper band, where the signature chill vibe, marked by syncopated rhythms and repeating melodies, took shape. Jason's growing collection of old synths led him away from the drum kit and into full-time knob-twiddling, so drummer Dave Mitchell was added to the group in mid-1998. Do Make Say Think are now a finely-calibrated musical Sputnik tracing stardust orbits around the good green Earth."
In real terms, this means that DMST hail from probably the most widely-known stable of post-rock, home to Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Fly Pan-Am and the various spin-off bands that the collective throws out, like A Silver Mt. Zion, Set Fire To Flames, One-Speed Bike, and their ilk.
Trying to pigeonhole them in such a genre where pigeonholes are not only frowned upon, but actively discouraged, leads to many problems. Some of the drum patterns involved lead to funk, the guitar riffs to jazz and psychadelic rock, and the drones to avant-noise, er, 'projects' (some ultra-weird Super Furry Animals and their
ripping off of influence by Japanese noise combos springs to mind). But, all of this is getting very complex and I'm not sure if I even make sense anymore. Rest assured, if you consider yourself a self-respecting post-rock monkey, and your motto is "What does anyone want but to feel a little more free?", then investigate this band very soon. And to do that, you'll need a...
Do Make Say Think, cst005
If I Only...
Disco & Haze
The Fare To Get There
Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landlord Is Dead, cst010 lp/cd
Released 13/03/00 (Europe + Canada), 27/03/00 (USA)
When Day Chokes the Night
Landlord Is Dead
All of This Is True
Bruce E Kinesis
Goodbye Enemy Airship
& Yet & Yet, cst020 lp/cd
Released 18/03/02 (Europe), 25/03/02 (USA)
End Of Music
White Light Of
Soul And Onward
Anything For Now
Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn, cst025 2lp/cd
War On Want
Auberge Le Mouton Noir
Outer & Inner Secret
107 Reasons Why
Horns Of A Rabbit
It's Gonna Rain
Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!
I can't believe it's taken me this long to write about their most recent offering, Winter Hymn, Country Hymn, Secret Hymn. Why can't I believe it? Because as soon as I listened to it, a substantial time period ago, I realised that it was absolutely mind-blowing. Even the first track, Fredericia, seems like an ordeal that lasts three lifetimes. In a good way. From the bass swell intro, to the innocent-enough jazz swing beat, and then the almost surf-guitar riff, these guys have really got their shit together. Even & Yet & Yet, which was really, really good, pales in comparison to this. The layering of the individual instruments is spot on, the drum fills like sweet nothings being whispered into your ear by a goddess. Every time the melody changes, you know that you're in for a mighty upheaval. The horns break in, surging against the tide of the bass and cymbals. The cymbals, however, are having none of it, and give just as good as they're getting, causing the horns to go crazy with rage and then, and then - calm.
But that's just the eye of the storm.
It seems like the guitars felt a bit left out in the last tumultuous offering, so, after a small gathering of pace, they lead the charge through the next section with much aplomb. The drums barely keep up, the horns are nowhere to be heard. Crash down into the abyss, further, deeper, faster, round and round and round and round, the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight -
You hear that? That's the sound of my heart breaking.
BAM! The final section screams into action with furious gusto, smashing your head against the rocks like it was a small rag-doll. They don't care, and neither do you, you want the sweet, sweet sound of oblivion. It's over, man. Game over.
And that's only track one.
Apparently, this is an album divided into thirds, taking a tip from some school of film-making, or other. There are three sets of the following - two long tracks with a break in between for a short interlude, usually just some ambient samples and a few tape loops, always melodic, but really just breaks between the raptures. Structurally, it was an incredible idea, and it's paid off by the shedload. No one could keep up the pace of the first track for long, and the reset of track two is a perfect set up for a similar offering in track three. This sequence keeps up for the rest of the album, and although the final segment starts off brooding and dark, with The Horns Of A Rabbit being as wolf-in-sheeps-clothing as it's name suggests, the departing mood of the record from Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!, which seems to start four times, before washing you with unfiltered Joy, is one of unrelenting hope.
Anyway. I'm spent. Now I'm going to listen to it again, and I hope you do the same.