The Most Serene Republic – [Album]

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

It’s been less than a year since The Most Serene Republic released their debut album and in that short time, as Population illustrates, their sound and the scope of the band’s vision has grown at a nothing less than geometric rate. Now a celestially operatic entity, the album builds to breathtaking plateaus (like "Compliance," "The Men Who Live Upstairs" and "Career In Shaping Clay") before breaking into ecstatic conflicts ("Sherry And Her Butterfly Net," "Present Of Future End") and back again. In between, the band throws in what would be considered fluff numbers (bossa nova noodling on "A Mix Of Sun And Cloud," the drawn out "Agenbite Of Inwit") on a record by any other band, but here the mammoth orchestrations and symbiotic male/female vocals make every moment feel urgent. Being accompanied by the Etobicoke School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra does leave the question of how this album will translate in a live setting of course, but those parts integrate so seamlessly here with the bracing electronic beats and dramatic realtime instruments and sit far enough back in the mixes that they tend to be more ambient and hence could be left out with the right arrangements. That maturity and smart playing betrays a gift for composition beyond the band’s years; this is the type of record that most bands would call the pinnacle of their careers (on a comparative scale, the ambition conveyed on Population makes Arcade Fire look like earnest and over-reaching amateurs), but Most Serene Republic is just getting started which makes the album that much more compelling because one wants to know which direction they’ll go in next.


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