And art rock for all…

The Fakeout The Tease and the Breather

Canasta Press Photo

The Chicago art-pop-rock combo Canasta has a way of releasing  records that are relaxing, but in no means lazy. They are ambitious without being overwhelming. They are textured soundscapes filled with thoughtful and intelligent lyrics moving delicately about the pastiche of musical ideas.

Sound pretentious? I thought you might think so. (College writing class wasn’t wasted on me.) Canasta is a group who relishes the process of playing music and making music that is as timeless as it is contemporary. The music is as conversational as it is narrative.

On The Fakeout The Tease and the Breather they deliver on the promise they made with their earlier release “We Were Set Up” (which includes the best Chicago song of the 21st century, “Slow Down Chicago”).

Part of the group’s success us that they are – for the most part – multi-instrumentalists. They all take a hand at singing with Matt Priest  handling most of the heavy lifting. Elizabeth Lindau offers perfect complement to his laid back style.

Lindau also plays the violin and keyboard and percussion. As a matter of fact guitar player Jeremy Beckford and drummer Josh Lava seem to be the only two listed that don’t have more than one instrument after their name. This does not discount their contributions to the band – it exemplifies the opportunities the other musicians provide.

Another of the rewards derived from listening to Canasta is the unpredictability of the music. While most pop music is predictable and can be played along with after a listen or two, Canasta arranges the songs with care and a sharp focus. They bring everything they have to the table very time.

They can be light and playful then turn on a dime and be dramatic and poignant – before drifting back into something else which might just be an infectious beat. They can get intimate and then anthemic.

The Fakeout The Tease and the Breather is a solid album – a necessity for anyone who enjoys smart music that resides at the corner of pop and art.

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