Hum // Independent
Chris Hauer’s new album Hum combines studies in minimalist arranging and layering with vocal hooks reminiscent of the best of 80’s pop music. His lyrics float effortlessly over the winding, contemplative melodies that together serve to ground and centre each track on the record. “Shoulder” is an absolutely huge statement and a fantastic way to start things off. The track features looped arpeggios that develop and collide in unpredictable, but completely satisfying ways. Both instrumental tracks also shine, and allow the listener to sink into the fascinating textures that Hauer creates. “Anisotropic” has an underwater vibe that sounds hectic and alive, while “Toward” (the other instrumental and album closer) uses a syncopated bass and drum pattern with a drone to created a more somber tone, and is a chilling closing piece. The way these tracks slowly morph and change over the course of their run time rewards multiple listens. Hum is sure to keep listeners coming back to find new sonic surprises hidden throughout the record.
- Sean Newton
Ruthless Severance // Double Lunch Records
Listening to Ruthless Severance, Doreen’s sophomore release, feels as though one exists in places. Thematically current, discussing aging and the meaning of loss, the album winks at rock giants passed, suggestive of The Strokes and The Velvet Underground in its catchy guitar lines and bright bass. Almost monotone vocals still cut through the noise, nostalgic and confessional.
Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Doreen have made a stamp on the city by playing dynamic, tight, and gripping live sets. Ruthless Severance seems to be no less. Moments that fall out of sync are textural, not-quite-perfect translates to we’re-right-here. Doreen isn’t the first band to tell us about getting older, but they have done it in a way that feels close, as if one has been surrounded by sound, being pushed to look around the corner and see what lies ahead. “Ruthless Severance”, the albums closing track is pulsing, observing the end, or the meaning of the end. The song is repetitive, but to its own advantage. It opens, alongside washed out cymbals and strumming guitar, and builds into what feels like a thematic bowtie, perfectly messy, Ruthless Severance. Perhaps, in this moment, we are asked to take a moment and look back at our own finish lines.
- Ella Coyes