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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Elsiane
Hybrid
Nettwerk

Rating: 9/10 ?


August 19, 2008
Over the long run, Canada has been known more for its comedians than for its musicians. Sure, there's Neil Young, and former bubble gum princess turned teen angst queen Alanis Morrisette is from up north, as are the recent handful of fine indie acts like Broken Social Scene, Great Lake Swimmers, and Junior Boys. But those interwoven musician collectives aside, lately there's been a relative shortage of good music from the country some consider America's hat. Enter Elsieanne Caplette, possibly the greatest voice Montreal has ever produced, and the harmonic soul of Elsiane (yes, sans an n), the band formed by the Peruvian-raised vocalist and drummer Stephane Sotto.

When writing about Elsiane, a mention of Björk seems almost inevitable; just like her Icelandic counterpart, Elsiane treats her voice more like an expressive, adaptable instrument than most traditional vocalists. Using her voice in a very cinematic way, Elsiane manages to paint a very colorful picture with her own human expression. Imagine a steady, yet jazzy beat, infused with a good hook and a catchy melody; even if you've heard similar sounds a thousand times before, with Elsiane's vocals on top even the most commonly trafficked light-listening music is taken to new heights. Like a hit of some tundra-grown stimulant, Elsiane's voice goes beyond complimenting the music to the point of enhancing it. All of a sudden you can see the jazzy beat; you don't just hear it anymore, you can actually feel the hook, and you can taste the melody. See what I'm getting at? Elsiane has a REALLY good voice.

Hybrid is Elsiane's debut album. Until a few weeks ago it had only been available in Canada, but thanks to the wonders of the interweb has now made its way Stateside. There are 11 tracks on the album, each of which strong enough that after repeated listens it remains impossible to pick a favorite. One minute the opening tune, "Vaporuos," sounds like the most magical collection of notes ever assembled, only to be dethroned by "Mend (To Fix, To Repair)" the next.

Canada in general, and Montreal in particular, have 11 more reasons to be proud; not only can they claim Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey, and Eugene Levy as part of their cultural heritage, they can also proudly nudge Leslie Feist aside and claim Elsiane as one of Canada's truly great artists. Hopefully everyone beyond the shadow of the Maple Leaf will get a chance to hear Hybrid soon; believe me, it's worth it.

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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