The success of Godspeed You Black Emperor! had to have repercussions on the Montreal music scene. Below the Sea, a trio split between Montreal and Quebec City, launched its first album, The Loss of Our Winter, in February 2001. Soft electric guitars, a slightly unstable but emotion-driven rhythm section, occasional cello and synthesizers, and the obligatory field recordings make for most the band's sound signature. References to Labradford and Misha are also in order. Drummer Pascal Asselin (also of Kazumi FX, Glider, and Expecting Another Pole), bassist Mathieu Lévesque, and guitarist Patrick Lacharité cooked a nice bunch of sedated rock instrumentals. The delicate cello touch of Joëlle Bergeron on "Tropic of Cancer" and "93 Stars," along with the rhythmic peak in "I Dreamt of Idaho" are all details unequivocally tying Below the Sea to Montreal's heroes of the instrumental underground. Nevertheless, the trio does manage to find its own voice, since its music relies less on a succession of build-up and release phases than on linearly developed melodies, simple vignettes applied to delicately crafted but foggy backgrounds. And for a first album, The Loss of Our Winter holds many promises as to what this unit could achieve in the next few years...unless this trend fades out too quickly. Fans of GYBE! should check it out.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture