Would Never Hope Happen

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The first effort from the former ashes of a Toronto underground punk group, this record is a melodic and somber series of songs. "Death in the Blue Country" has a dirge-like bassline, while singer Craig Thompson does just enough to transmit the message and feeling. "Fourth of July" spends too much time wallowing in simplistic guitar chords, while the lyrics seem aloof at best. The song's second half has potential, but musically it seems to move in circles. "Army Song" is one of the better tracks, but dissolves into a wailing and blood-curdling repeat of the chorus. Fortunately, "Happiness" picks up the album's intensity, resembling a possible Velvet Underground outtake. Shut-In is content to not necessarily shut itself out from classic rock influences, but takes a rather eclectic path toward them. "Christmas Party" has a Southern twang to it, but could also be mistaken for a tame Yo La Tengo. The moody finale, "Wrecks," has a lot of tension starting off, but it dissipates and actually stalls the song. And although it's an instrumental, the necessary intensity isn't what it should or could be. Thus, the listener hears a rather controlled yet passable performance.

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