Release Date: Jul 14, 2009
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
“We’ve never tried this before,” one of the band members noted, soon picking up his acoustic guitar and gathering around a small fire pit outside of Kilby Court. The Most Serene Republic had just finished playing a show at the small venue just a few minutes prior, promoting their then-current album Population. It was December of 2007, the band in jackets and wool caps post-show, and due to one audience member’s suggestion, the group was now gathered around the long-since dormant fire hole, and with no preparation whatsoever, vocalists Adrian Jewett and Emma Ditchburn began singing “Proposition 61” in the cold winter air, the acoustic strums ringing in the stifled air and adding to what could only be described as an absolutely magical moment.
In their search of authentic beauty, it serves to note that The Most Serene Republic, or La Serenissima, are discerning their own expectations. Just as trying to explain what a sobriquet is, there was an incredible difficulty in trying to break down the grand scheme of the Canadian collective. Now, with a surprisingly quick third effort, they’re getting closer to inviting us to the classic soiree they’ve been hinting at these past six years.
Apt title. The Most Serene Republic are, as they always have been, a big band; seven members, expansive arrangements, eyes on the horizon, that sort of thing. They're effective when they sound like a small band, too-- when they manage to wrench as much power out of their tenderest, most threadbare moments as they are when seven people are banging the hell out of their instruments.
These kids from Milton, Ontario, have always been Broken Social Scene's nerdy musical siblings made good, so it's no surprise that both BSS producer Dave Newfeld and the Grade 11 orchestra from Etobicoke School of the Arts - Kevin Drew's former high school - appear on their third long-player. [rssbreak] The album begins with peppy Bubble Reputation and upbeat Heavens To Purgatory before experimenting with weirder fare like orchestral instrumental Patternicity and ethereal, overly complex All Of One Is The Other. There's plenty of the intelligent, expansive instrumentation that's earned TMSR their band-geek badges, but despite a strong finish, Universe lacks a life-changing single.