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on 12 February 2007
Being a fan of DMST for several years, I've seen the subtle changes in their style. The transition to bare-bones jazzy rock, back to electronic/production driven modal passages is clear. It is here, however, that DMST use the largest range of actual instruments and, for the first time, vocals. This albums is definately not what I was expecting; shorter, sometimes acoustic passages, less electronica, more prominent drums. Pop "sensibilities" are definately more abundant.
This feels quite experimental at times. Personally, the use of vocals should have been avoided. Sadly, the song they appear on "A With Living", is musically boring also. Where "Soul & Onward" used vocals as a backing sound, here, the voice is neither complementary to the music, nor distinguishable. However, in songs such as "A Tender History In Rust" and "In Mind", where acoustic, more melodic guitar passages are used, DMST show their star still shines. This blend of acoustic surf riffs and jazzy drums attones for the, rather bleak, start to the album. If you're a fan, get it. You can make up your own mind on whether the changes have taken positive effect. If you're new to them; try "& Yet & Yet" or "Goodbye Enemy Airship, The Landlord Is Dead", first.
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on 26 June 2008
Apparently recorded in old barns in remote parts of Canada, post-rockers Do Make Say Think's `You You're A History In Rust' should be considered as one of the Great Albums Recorded in a Wooden Outhouse (TM), along with My Morning Jacket's `It Still Moves' (Grain Silo) and Bon Iver's `For Emma, Forever Ago' (Log Cabin). The Toronto band, also known for their contribution to Broken Social Scene's cacophonous indie-rock stew, make jazzy, largely instrumental post-rock, but in a looser and more jam-orientated fashion than some of their contemporaries (i.e., Godspeed!, Explosions in the Sky etc.).

Owing to it's raw recording methods, `You You're A History In Rust' acquires a textural abstraction that (especially on `In Mind') sees the band acquire some of the blissful dissonance of Christian Fennesz or Keven Shields. For `Rust' you could also easily read `rustic', and it's partly this reverb-thick naturalism that melds the different instrumentation together. While horns, banjo and bubble up stealthily from the mix, there is the natural scrape and clutter of the recording to fill in the gaps. This `found sound' gives the album a refreshingly unpolished and particular ambience, a sense of ontological connection to a certain time and place.

Although there are comparisons to be made with Mogwai circa Rock Action - albeit less baroque and melancholy, less Glaswegian - and to Tortoise's jazzy compositions - but more spontaneous and less mathematically plotted - they deserve to be considered on par with some of these big names in the scene. Unlike some of their post-rock contemporaries, their sound is not characterised by crescendos but by fluid shifts of mood, and a joyous rusticism. The scene has been moving further towards traditional country and rock roots, perhaps inspired by the naturalistic expansiveness of My Morning Jacket, and `You You're A History In Rust' stands as an early example of this paradigm shift. If you like this you should like any of the aforementioned artists or albums, as well as Grizzly Bear's `Yellow House', Broken Social Scene's `You Forgot it in People' and My Morning Jacket's `It Still Moves'.
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on 20 May 2007
Although I own all of 'Do Make Say Think's albums and have enjoyed them over the years I have always felt that even the better albums ('&yet &yet' and 'goodbye enemy airship') didn't quite get to where they were heading. This sense of exploration, of a journey rather than a destination, is of course what keeps them interesting, don't get me wrong, I like them for that, but this album just seems so much more complete.

Exploration is still very much part of the music, but this is exploration by a band that are now not only highly accomplished in what they do (essentially post rock but more jazzy and less apocalyptic) but who also seem to have moved into a new space.

Basically the main change seems to be the introduction of a more folky element to the mix, reminiscent perhaps of something like Akron/Family. But this is a much more grown up version than Akron/Family's controlled chaos or zappa-esque goofy musical shifts. Vocals, singing and chanting, are a major part of the new move but are not excessive, popping in only two or three times as stop off points amid the more free-flowing instrumental sections.

The final 'song' - 'in mind'- being one such vocal section, but the heavy distortion laid over what seems to be almost everything on the track sweeps the vocals beautifully up into the mix rather than letting them sit on top. Lyrically this last part shares something of the sentiments of the 'Flaming Lips' song 'Do You Realise' - albeit a more 'haiku' version - but again the overwhelming sweep of the music ensures this isn't too blatant, in fact the words are just on the edge of being distinguishable, which means they slip past in a kind of ecstatic flurry and only afterwards does their meaning seep out. This creates an intense and jubilant finale to an album that is, in my view, almost perfect.
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on 30 March 2008
I may be doing Do Make Say Think a disservice here, but of the various Canadian art/post-rock bands coming out on the Constellation and Alien8 labels, I never found these guys the most engaging. Until now that is. Whereas before I merely respected them, now I love them. This album has converted me. I'm told that post-rock is desperately unfashionable, and when you consider the fervently anti-commercial ethos that such artists typically profess, it should come as no surprise. The notoriety that bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor have garnered, in spite of their predilection for 20 minute instrumental pieces, is really rather remarkable then. And maybe, after all, success isn't such a bad thing, since it helps support a creative community, and one that doesn't stand still. That certainly applies to `You, You're a History in Rust'. You won't find mere reiteration of a tried-and-tested formula here. Indeed, Do Make Say Think are as much concerned with innovation in working practice as with finished product, recognising the crucial dynamic relation between the two. And so with this album they most definitely move forward. Hell, they even flirt with song structures, introducing really effective vocals. Whilst the percussion remains central, typically bolstered by insistent bass lines, we are also treated to delicate acoustic finger-picking and horns that flutter around the edges. Implicit references to folk music traditions abound, and on first listen I even wondered whether they had teamed up with Sufjan Stevens. This album really moves me and I urge you to let it do the same for you.
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on 3 July 2007
There is a great music scene in Canada at the moment and DSMT's label Constellation Records is one of the most innovative labels around. DSMT, always one the very best of live bands, deliver again with this their fifth album. They have changed direction slightly with the addition of, gasp, vocals, on a couple of tracks, but it hasn't detracted from the overall beauty of their sound. I don't like using the phrase 'Post Rock' because I'm not totally sure what it means, but DSMT do fit nicely in the whole indie rock instrumental crowd. Brilliant musicianship, quiet, loud and then quiet (and sometimes the other way round) tunes, this is a fine addition to their catelogue.
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on 3 October 2007
Is there such a term as 'Canadiana'? You know the Canadian version of Americana? If there isn't there should be. And if the term 'Cosmic Canadiana' was going to apply to any band, any album, then it should be this cd.
This has a 'backwoods looking at the stars' feel to it. Beautifully played organic sounding Space/Post-Rock.
One reviewer said the addition of vocals detracted from the sound, but I think the 3 tracks that feature some sort of vocals are made all the better for those vocals. Having said that I would be wary for the band if they were to head into a more vocal orientated sound.
Play from start to finish, or jumble the tracks up a bit this is a splendid bit of music
I love this cd.
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