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A Sky With No Stars

Rating: 8/10 ?

November 2, 2007
Italy might not be the first place that comes to mind when considering great musical nations. Sure, the most boot shaped of countries has produced artists like Zucchero and Gianna Nannini, popular male and female artists who coincidentally share the exact same timbre, but the fact that few people without an interest in European piano rock have heard of either goes a long way to explaining why few acts have expanded beyond Italy's borders.

Canada is a country with substantially more musical output and musical credibility than Italy, and maybe that's why a quintet of Italians with a great ear for melodies decided to name themselves after the giant North American country. An Italian band called Canadians, go figure.

The band's debut album, A Sky With No Stars, is a nice collection of songs, most of them of very high quality (and for sure of a higher quality than the intro to this review). Canadians composed the album's songs together, and the multiplicity of ideas and influences at work is subsequently quite audible. Every now and then the Beach Boys float in and out of the tunes, especially in "Summer Teenage Girl," which could have been been ripped, name and all, from the California coast. Canadians have updated the Brian Wilson vibe, however, and the track's sound is very contemporary, even with its clear influences from the 60s. There are a number of historical influences that crop up through the course of A Sky With No Stars, but Canadians have managed, together with producer Matteo Cantaluppi, to give each song the treatment necessary to avoid sounding old and dated.

"The North Side of Summer" is another great example of the diverse influences at play in Canadians' methodology, this time with the flavor of Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins. The track isn't an all-out Billy Corgasm, but the bald-headed Chicagoan's influence can be heard fluttering in and out between Canadians' contemporary updates.

Culling the high spots from genres past to create a throwback sound is hardly a new tactic, but the diversity of influences and their conservative influence is what makes A Sky With No Stars such a fun and interesting listen. The album never gets boring, and even if it does have a habit of revisiting some of its successful themes rather than breaking off something new, the Canadians do such a good job of softening the redelivery that it is tolerable.

It might seem counter-intuitive to proclaim Canadians as dam-breakers for a potential wave of good Italian music, but that could very well be the case. This quintet is helping prove that there is more to Italy than just it's boot shape, leaning towers, streets of water, and other anomalies, and with any luck A Sky With No Stars is the first wave of a new Italian renaissance.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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