Thursday, September 9, 2010

What I Dream Is Where I Live - Whoop-Szo

What I Dream Is Where I Live

Out of Sound Records.

SCQ Rating: 72%

Whoop-Szo’s press-release tells the tale of how Adam Sturgeon and Kirsten Palm met through increments of seasons and hibernations. Identifying this reclusive way of life which trends heavily in the Great White North as a spiritual escape, Sturgeon and Palm began utilizing winter’s inhospitable tenure as reason to hole-up and record their hyphen-required folk tapestries. The result, What I Dream Is Where I Live, exists in sleepy, half-realized vibes and sugar-high restlessness.

If the combination of slumber and hyperactivity feel bipolar, you’re well on your way to understanding Whoop-Szo, whose specialty in folk and lo-fi pop occasionally erupts into noise-jams or other unexpected left-turns. What separates this Guelph-based band (which includes Nathan Campagnaro on drums) from many noise-folk hybrids is that most of the bipolar moments on What I Dream Is Where I Live benefit the material as charming progressions instead of attention-seeking weirdness. The fuzzed-out classic-rock chords that swallow up the title track’s gentle acoustics may seem abrupt but it’s as welcome as the electronic beats that propel ‘Sunshower Clean’ out of the folky slipstream. None of these twists in the road distract from Whoop-Szo’s primary focus of laid-back roots-music, represented best on ‘Out On the Lake a Pair of Loons Laugh Their Idiot Cry’ and the crisp-then-crunchy ‘Snowfall’.

These comforting concoctions occasionally recall Extra Happy Ghost!!!’s 2009 EP How the Beach Boys Sound To Those With No Feelings, even if Whoop-Szo’s 90s influences don’t really gel with the former group’s psychedelic muse. Both of these under-the-radar Canadian acts thrive through experimentation, distinguishing themselves by writing solid tunes and then injecting them with their respective idiosyncrasies. Although this debut gets watered down by ‘A Wolf Named Jealousy’, a pop song without any hooks, What I Dream Is Where I Live offers a great deal to enjoy and take solace in as winter draws near.

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