Constantines - Kensington Heights
It has been almost three years since Toronto's art/folk/punk rocker's The Constantines compelled Indie audiences to collectively pump there hands in celebration of a new album. With all of this wait fan's must be wondering, "Was it worth it"? The answer is ... kind of.
The Constantines forth album Kensington Heights makes its trip to the US by way of the Arts and Crafts record label. Most Indie fans know this label through Canadian all-star pop group Broken Social Scene and since The Constantines' old label Three Gut shut down, Arts and Crafts has picked up the logistics.
Kensington Heights makes its first strike with the furious but restrained "Hard Feelings". Long time listeners will probably be a little disappointed here as this is the weakest intro to a Constantines album to date. Fear not loyal fans, the album has much stronger moments. Particularly toward the middle of the album listeners are treated with the slow and sweet song "Time Can Be Overcome". The song rocks from side, pushed by band leader Bryan Webb's soulful vocals. Immediately afterward, The Constantines crash down with the 7/4 downbeat driven "Brother Run Them Down". Staying consistent in its power rock theme, the song invokes a feeling of triumph in simplicity. Fans of The Constantines older material might enjoy "Million Star Hotel". The song has a large open chorus with the guitars and organs sharing melodic duties with bass and crash cymbals hammering downbeats into the bands collective space. The Constantines return to more blues influence, a la Shine A Light, in "Million Star Hotel". The song feels tired and frustrated, on purpose, with disconnected rhythms and straining vocals. It is perhaps one of the more memorable rock moments of the album. The album concludes with noisy gospel "Do What You Can Do". The song moves the audience with its simple praises reinforced with heavily distorted guitars.
For fans of The Constantines this album may be a disappointment. The band has traded the rough choruses spelling out "o-v-e-r-d-o-s-e" to a focus on a single male lead. The new folk direction isn't as powerful or as moving as the soul-punk (yes I said it) of its predecessors. Fans should pick this one up however. It is good enough to be a Constantines album. Newer fans might want to start with the self titled however.
Review courtesy of Sound As Language
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