From The Published Archives: The Consonance’s October EP

On June 29, 2012, The Consonance announced they were breaking up on their official Facebook page.  Just six months earlier, Monkeybiz.ca posted my review of what would turn out to be their final studio release:  a four-song EP entitled October.  As you’re about to discover, I loved it.

Originally published on December 3, 2011, the same day as my evaluation of Camp Radio’s Campista Socialista, it’s a shame that October never catapulted these six talented musicians into the spotlight, even just for a short time.  The EP is that good.

One last thing.  I’ve made one significant change from the MonkeyBiz posting.  In my original submission to the site, the line, “Running just 16 minutes, October is one of the best independent recordings I’ve heard in years,” appeared at the start of the final paragraph.  It was then relocated to the end of the first paragraph in the MonkeyBiz version.  I never understood this change.  Therefore, the line has been put back in its original location.

THE CONSONANCE: OCTOBER EP: An Album Review

Posted on December 03 2011 under Arts & Entertainment
By Dennis Earl

Are you tired of the current state of music?  Had your fill of empty dance pop?  Looking for something a little different?  Check out October, the latest release from The Consonance.

Based out of Edmonton, this sextet (four women and two men) seamlessly mix large doses of jazz and cocktail pop together with just a hint of rock to form a deeply appealing sound far removed from the usual indie fare.

October is their third batch of studio recordings following their debut album, Come The Day, and their first EP, More Alive.  Like the latter, October only has four songs on it.  But every single one of them is compelling.

The CD gets off to a beautiful start with Jar The Sea which threw me initially with its slightly off-kilter time signature.  But from the second listen onward, I found myself swept up in its deeply moving, atypical rhythm.

Nich Davies’ drumming provides much needed energy here, as he does on every track, while keyboardist Vicky Berg offers a cinematic piano lick worthy of an opening title sequence.  Her tinkling style throughout the EP nicely sets the mood.

Jesse Dollimont’s silky smooth vocals (ably backed by a harmonizing Berg) are wonderfully restrained.  Her sexy voice blends in nicely with the goose-pimply arrangement, a common occurrence for much of this release.

Jar The Sea is about giving love another chance (“My skin will shed the weighted fears, and empty hollow sighs/Left to you is all of me/Loves brilliant reprise”).

But then lines like “I’ll tie the wind and jar the sea/And leave the words out of your misery” suggest complications.

Next up is the supremely weird Surprise Reprise, which appears to continue the story of the earlier song by focusing solely on the woman’s point of view.  Dollimont rifles through the sometimes rambling words so quickly, you’re quite thankful to have a lyric sheet to follow along with her.

The relationship has completely deteriorated (“no one ever made me act so unstable/you couldn’t say that we didn’t try”) and at times you question her sanity (“Built on books now, I can see them/Headstrong heretics cleaning up their semen”).

When you hear Dollimont whipping through these lines, as the band wisely backs her with a spare, uncluttered jazz-rock rhythm, it makes perfect sense.  This character is literally falling apart and deeply resentful.

That said, the song slips in some sly, universal social commentary about the everyday pressures of being a woman.

Song For My City gets inside the head of her miserable husband.  When he’s not plotting the deaths of innocent birds whose only crime is making too much noise (“If the poison doesn’t work/we’ll take the whole nest down”), he’s planning to annoy his “awful quiet” neighbourhood (“my trucks and tools will fix all that”).

Deeply thrilled about where he lives (“Oh it’s such a pretty town/Buildings all grey and the rivers brown”) and his life in general, like his wife in Surprise Reprise, this is one unhappy camper.

Appropriately, the music is cheerfully ironic.  After two listens, I was already whistling the chorus.

The EP (and the marriage) ends with the darkly beautiful title song.  With lyrics straight out of 90s alt-rock (“Drop me/see if I will break…Bury me/see if I decay”), the heartbreaking arrangement matches the despair conveyed in Dollimont’s always absorbing vocals.

Running just 16 minutes, October is one of the best independent recordings I’ve heard in years. And it does what any good EP should do:  leave you hungry for more.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, August 31, 2013
11:56 p.m.

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Published in: on August 31, 2013 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

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