Release Date: May 19, 2009
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
The best thing about side projects is that they give artists the opportunity to expose and dissect whatever it is they musically yearn for; the stuff that enthuses and electrifies them. Apostle of Hustle is a long standing example, formed in 2001 by Andrew Whiteman of Broken Social Scene after a particularly good holiday in Havana. Stirred by the disparity between life there and his Toronto base, Whiteman picked up a Cuban guitar and embraced South American folk, knitting a metaphorical poncho from the fine-wool blend of his own indie, latin and rock laced musical background.
At a time when indie rock is going Beach Boys - lush, vocally complex, sunny - Toronto's Apostle of Hustle, the brainchild of Andrew Whiteman, lead guitarist for Broken Social Scene, strip things down to a sparse-sounding three-piece and sprinkle their third album with machine-gun-fire samples and sound collages about revolutions, war and buildings falling. [rssbreak] Whiteman is a limited, sometimes tuneless, singer. And he's abandoned the tres, a three-stringed Cuban guitar used uniquely on earlier efforts, in favour of a few not-so-good stabs at reggae.
On his third full-length LP, Eats Darkness, Apostle of Hustle's Andrew Whiteman all but eradicates the Cuban tres, the instrument that had been the lone distinguishing characteristic of his rather nebulous music. The band is now a power trio, with Julian Brown on bass and Dean Stone on drums. In jettisoning his reliance on Cuban and Brazilian folk traditions, Whiteman has discovered a new musical personality that is both more prosaic and more sharply defined: Eats Darkness rocks harder than prior work, with crisper edges, while feeling more playful and adventurous.
Click here to get your copy of Apostle Of Hustle’s ‘Eats Darkness’ from the Rough Trade shop.
There’s a fairly heavy conceptual framework hanging over Eats Darkness from the title on down—one this slight, eager to please album can neither sustain nor justify. The band are consuming darkness, you see, in order to expel light. Front man Andrew Whiteman (whose Broken Social Scene membership is at least the reason a lot of people heard of Apostle of Hustle in the first place, so we might as well get mentioning it out of the way) speaks of these 13 tracks as “a serial poem about some struggles people go through… tactics and attitudes needed in ‘life during wartime.’” Having some sort of organizing principle as an artist is a valuable thing, and often helps to give an album some sort of inner coherence.