Release Date: May 19, 2017
Record label: Constellation
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Also running to indie rock's rescue after a similar quiet spell is Broken Social Scene , the collective with whom Do Make Say Think share members Charles Spearin and Ohad Benchetrit. Both camps had taken their respective premises -- one a small orchestra's worth of players making rock music, the other a rock line-up building orchestral narratives -- to considerable lengths by the advent of their last records. One now has to squint to recall a time at the end of the '90s when Do Make Say Think appeared to be a cryptic jazz counterpart to the dystopian overtures of Constellation labelmates Godspeed You! Black Emperor .
Ideas, especially creative ones, can be wild beasts, difficult to wrangle and control. They are born in our thoughts and intentions but ultimately take on lives of their own. Like life itself, this process can be messy, complicated, and fraught, no matter how hard we try to fit it into our neat categorical frameworks. Do Make Say Think make music that captures these phenomena in a sonic vernacular that, on their latest LP, is aimed at interrogating the Stubborn Persistent Illusions we find ourselves embroiled in every day. The nine instrumentals that make up the band's first album in almost as many years are all written in major keys.
Do Make Say Think ready their performances for situations outside the realm of normal listening. There are numerous songs over the ten minute mark. As such, most of their records offer a subtle, slow beckoning into the cabins, basements, and general cold-weather-avoidance locations that happen to double as a DMST studio. Their very first song with lyrics, 'A With Living', from their 2007 album You, You're A History In Rust, squeaks by with quiet drums and scattered acoustic strums for several minutes before coalescing into anything resembling a head or chorus.
It's been eight long years since Do Make Say Think's last record. Whilst 2009's Other Truths hinted at a bit more crash bang wallop in addition to the blissful noodling brain balm of tracks like, well, 'Classic Noodlanding', it still adhered to the relaxed character of their back catalogue. Not so much here. Stubborn Persistent Illusions finds the band positively excitable.
Stubborn Persistent Illusions is the first album by Toronto-based instrumental rock collective Do Make Say Think since 2009's Other Truths. Immediately out of the gate, the group sound overwhelmed and overjoyed to be back in action. "War on Torpor" erupts with boundless energy, building up a melodic cacophony of skyward guitars, slightly nervy organ, and thrashing drums.
Constantly underrated next to their peers Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Broken Social Scene, Toronto's Do Make Say Think have always been more than just the bridge between those bands. Over the course of six albums spanning the previous decade, they have always been more than willing, ready and able to show themselves as a whimsical band in their own right and arguably more consistent than any of their peers. Stubborn Persistent Illusions, their first since 2009's Other Truths, is a startling return to form after a lengthy absence from the instrumental post-rock troupe.
Listening to the Toronto band's new album, I wished upon myself an experiment: What if I heard one of these tracks without knowing it was Do Make Say Think? I'm sure "Horripilation," at more than ten minutes long with its braided guitars and dual drums, would have given the band away immediately. But other songs would have kept their secret, and so there is much newness in which to revel on Stubborn Persistent Illusions , the band's first album since 2009's Other Truths , which will sound both familiar and peculiar to anyone who has spent time with their previous music. Even the most arcane genres have tropes, and post-rock has built up plenty of its own.
Do Make Say Think's Stubborn Persistent Illusions is an album without a center. It's the group's first since 2009's Other Truths and, rather than sounding too fussy or labored over, there is a lack of self-awareness and openness to the music. It truly comes off like a group of people using shared familiarity, history, and knowledge to guide themselves (and listeners) through numerous moods and textures.