Talent oozes from the seven band members, five men and two women (the cellists) who hail from Ann Arbor and Ferndale. Recognized as a new musical talent, Canada has been invited to perform at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City in November. In live performances, everyone seems to play more than one instrument (I even caught a cellist hitting the cymbal with her bow), their vocals are usually spot on and well blended, and the members trade off the lead role onstage. Their all-original material doesn't sound like anyone else's.
The trouble is that while This Cursed House starts out with some upbeat numbers, it grows progressively more plodding and lonely with each track, and the players don't seem to know when to stop riffing on a line and change direction. Thankfully, their live show is more energetic than the CD and inspires local fans with frequent call-and-response moments. The band bounces around on stage, and the cellists lean into their instruments with synchronized bowing. But after a while, Willie Nelson would tell 'em, "Pick up the tempo just a little and take it on home."
Canada opens for French Kicks at the Blind Pig on Sunday, November 12.
[Review published November 2006]