Tuesday, December 21, 2010

#8 Album Of 2010: New Problems - Seth Smith

New Problems
Seth Smith

Original SCQ Review

I know,” I say preemptively, hands up. “We’ve talked about this before.” How every year I get confronted with a great record that technically came out the previous year, then spend months humming over whether to include it in my year-end lists.

This one’s different, though. Not only did I receive it at the end of 2009, when I hadn’t the time to properly hear it, but it received most of its recognition here in 2010. Toronto Star wrote it up, bloggers discovered it. Seth even re-released the record, on cassette and then 12” vinyl. Twice!”

Still, she says nothing.

So I tell her to pick the chilly late autumn day and I’ll bring New Problems to her apartment. I’ll insert the cassette into her old boom-box, and she can curl up on the couch and feel Smith’s cool vocal caress numb her in all the ways a rough quilt cannot. Each song moves so fluently or abrasively into the next, moving Smith’s lyrics from creepy to lovelorn, wilting New Problems like a full tree at the death of summer, gaining beauty, that dying radiance, then growing cold.

Maybe you’ll catch on and feel how genius yet uncomplicated the whole affair is. Maybe you’ll see why I’m still obsessing over it a year later.”

Yah,” she says, stickler to the end. “Or maybe I’ll get up for tea half-way through and tell you it sounds nice.”

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