(Arts & Crafts)
With Interpol and Editors having successfully cornered the market in nouveau gloom, worshipping at the feet of the holy trinity of Curtis, McCulloch and Smith, it would seem that Montreal band The Stills were the only ones yet to achieve the success that dreaming of dank bedsits can bring. But in this time of economic uncertainty, with the babbling fear of recession rising like steam from a Pot Noodle and the relentless, punishing Biblical weather, never has there been a better time to soak in the songs of the sullen.
After a brief fl irtation with the starker side of music on their second album, the earthy Without Feathers, the band have returned to the more successful synth drenched melodies of their debut (Logic Will Break Your Heart) and have enveloped themselves in the bombastic, widescreen, windswept sound of -80s guitar bands. They are at their Bunnymen best on the woozy opener -Don’t Talk Down’ and the swirling anthemic squall of -Hands On Fire’, although singer Tim Fletcher’s dramatic vocals have an unnerving tendency to stretch the tunes to the point of earnestness, so much so that they have a tragic, almost Simple Minds quality about them, especially on the shameless Radiohead pastiche, -Panic’.
However, caught in the midst of all this portentousness and bluster is the touching, utterly charming Rufus Wainwright style balladry of -Everything I Build’, a boiled-down-to basics tune that dissolves the posturing and lets the soul of the band shine. If this track is a glimpse at what’s to come, perhaps The Stills can step out of the shadows and leave the romanticised brooding to the bedroom boys.