Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Canadian Invasion, Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand

Driven by an apparently unlimited need to make even more money the music industry relentlessly packages music into limited and narrow genres designed and marketed to demographic groups that the industry has identified as prime targets because the people in these groups are seen as (a) interested in music, (b) susceptible to marketing pressure to brand themselves with the music they listen to, and (c) having money to spend.  This is great for the music business and the people who are content to allow the music business to determine what they listen to.  It’s not so great for many musicians who tend to find something of interest in almost any kind of music and for the people who have broken free of the idea that music is a means of social branding rather than something to simply be enjoyed for its own sake.

One of the benefits of the the digital revolution that has occurred in music (and MP3 is only the tip of the iceberg) in the past 20 years is that people who make music, enjoy listening to it, or both are no longer subject to the limitations imposed by the major music companies.  The major record companies may have no interest in distributing styles of music that aren’t considered cool enough to move hundreds of thousands of units but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t musicians who are making good music in these styles and listeners who enjoy hearing it.  The ease with which musicians can make their music available and interested listeners can hear or buy it on the internet make it possible to enjoy just about any kind of music you like if you take the time to find it.

Canadian Invasion is a case in point.  The band is five-piece out of Philly that specializes in classic guitar-driven power pop.  Their songs feature most of the characteristics of the genre: uptempo, melodic chorus-verse song structures, jangly guitars, and lots of harmony vocals.  Not as blissed out as Cosmic Rough Riders nor as singer-songwriter oriented as, say, Matthew Sweet, Canadian Invasion sound like they listen to a lot of Teenage Fanclub.  If you like Teenage Fanclub, and I do, this is a good thing because it’s always nice to hear new music in a style you like that is as well done as what Canadian Invasion gives us on Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand.

Most of the tracks on Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand are straightforward power pop written and played by a band that knows what they’re doing.  The ringer is “But You’re God (And I’m Me)” which sounds like it has its roots in the kind of Doo Wop produced by groups like the Tymes (also from Philly, albeit a long time ago) and the Duprees (from Jersey City not too far from Philly).  With heavy reverb and vibrato on the vocals and a lovely sax break it’s a terrific song that makes you wish Canadian Invasion would work more in this style.

Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand might be difficult to find.  If you’re content with the sonic limitations of the MP3 format or your preferred music reproduction medium can’t produce the difference, the album is readily available over the net from many of the usual sources.  If you want the CD, you may have a more difficult time finding it, but if you like Teenage Fanclub and appreciate the difference between redbook CD and MP3, Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand is worth the effort.

Bummer.  I’d like to have put up a track from Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand for you to listen to but the CD has videos that load automatically when you open the disc and I can’t find a way to access the tracks from the album.

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04/18/2010 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , ,

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