Sunday, March 23, 2008

I Spy With My Little Eye...

As far as I know, Impressionable Youth is the first blog on to speak of this group. It may not matter to you, but for me, it's a good accomplishment.

Welcome The I Spies.

Whoa! Check that arm span!

I've only caught notice of them recently by clicking on the musician friends' mySpace pages of bands that I like. Not that I have my own mySpace page. I find those to be condescending unless you're part of an artistic or musical group. But I've digressed.

These four gents, Johnny, James, Markus and Steve, started up their group in 2003. According to their website, they've been gaining an underground following via a project called "Toronto's Suck My Disc". I'll have to research that.

On the 11th of this month, they released their debut album "In the Night" nation-wide. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get my hands on it until this long weekend. All the HMV locations I visited didn't have it in stock, so I had Edie pick it up for me when she could conveniently drop by Soundscapes. Thank goodness for non-major record stores.

First impressions. As I haven't had enough time with the album to properly bond with it.

With cover art as adorable and as clever as their name, how could I not be smitten with them?

In the Night is something that comes to you as something sweet and youthful but leaves you with a sense of unsettling urgency, not to say that's a bad thing. It has some catchy melodies that are far more inviting than the lyrics that carry them. The vocals never seem to overpowering, although the guitar that drives it forward seem gives the music a harsher edge.

I suppose what I mean to say about this album is that it balances itself at a point between cute and menacing. Even their song titles suggest it.

The I Spies - In The Night (mp3)
The I Spies - Up All Night (mp3)

Both have three words. Both end with "night". Note the somewhat eerie and threatening tone of In The Night. Now listen to the naive blissfulness of Up All Night.

The I Spies - Stop Screaming (mp3)
The I Spies - Are You Talking to Yourself Again? (mp3)

Both titles address the reader/listener directly. Both address their manner of speech. Note the calm but demanding paranoia of Stop Screaming. Now note the quirky curiosity of Are You Talking to Yourself Again.

I think the band expressed themselves best when they said the theme portrays "urban claustrophobia and retro-futuristic disappointment".

Overall? Yeah. I like it. But do I love it?

It's a fine example of Toronto indie, but I'm not going to brag about it's groundbreaking sound or innovation. Nonetheless, it's definitely worth a listen. In the Night is up for streaming in it's entirety on the I Spies' official website. Have fun.

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