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...And the Ever Expanding Universe

The Most Serene Republic

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Album Review

Toronto is a city that seems to spawn pop groups unafraid to aim for a grand and distinctive vision, and one such band, the Most Serene Republic, has been raising its sights a bit higher with each successive trip to the recording studio. The group's fourth album, ...And the Ever Expanding Universe, feels too modest to be called epochal, but its sweep and ambition are broad enough that no other word feels quite apt. While the band features seven musicians, with help from producer Dave Newfeld, the Most Serene Republic sound like some sort of 21st century chamber orchestra on these sessions, particularly on the extended instrumental "Patternicity," and though they haven't abandoned the usual trappings of contemporary pop (cue up the lovely "Vessels of a Donor Look" for evidence), the rich tonal colors and imaginative vocal arrangements that run through most tracks are the work of a band that's moved past guitar/bass/drums/maybe a keyboard in favor of a more challenging vision. ...And the Ever Expanding Universe is tuneful, and the sweetness of the harmonies that dot many of the songs is engaging, but the swing between the breathy voices and cruelly distorted instruments on "Phi" is the work of a group not content to simply sound pretty, and the layers of instruments that interact within a selection like "Catharsis Boo" show that fun and challenging are not concepts that cancel each other out. And there's a graceful balance in the arrangements and performances that keeps this music joyous and full of wonder whether it aims for simplicity or a baroque level of detail. ...And the Ever Expanding Universe is a small wonder that easily confirms the Most Serene Republic's status as one of the most impressive acts on a Toronto pop scene that is already producing a bounty of exciting music.

Customer Reviews

Most Serene indeed

...And the Ever Expanding Universe is simply splendid, layered bliss. In response to one of the reviews, the so-called "bad recording sounds" are added for textural effect, and I think they aid in the development of audio depth that I have come to expect from The Most Serene Republic. Tracks such as The Old Forever New Things are perfect examples of ethereal, flowing melodies and delightfully airy vocals that this Canadian band offers up over and over again. The only downside I have found is that on a few occasions in this album the instruments seem to be slightly out of tune, which dims the beauty a bit.

great

this is just another adition to the ever expanding list of amazing albums under the label of arts and crafts this cd, like other MSR cds plays with more than just instruments, using electronic sounds that seem almost unwanted but add to the sound i'd like to point out to the comment posted 2 spots earlier that the "bad recording" is on purpose to add to the artistic sound

Can't get the songs out of my head

Awesome album! I can't stop humming these songs, its crazy! Upon first listening, it takes a little getting use to the style, but once you get use to it, its awesome stuff. Give it a few listens and you will be wanting to listen to these all day!

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Milton, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Hailing from the suburbs of Toronto, the Most Serene Republic features Adrian Jewett (vocals), Adam Nimmo (drums), Ryan Lenssen (keyboards), Nick Greaves (guitar), Andrew McArthur (bass), and Emma Ditchburn (vocals/guitar). The quirky indie rock sextet formed in 2003 and inked a deal with Arts & Crafts shortly thereafter, becoming the first band signed to the Toronto label that didn't include a member of Broken Social Scene. North American dates with Canadian pals Stars followed into spring 2005....
Full bio
...And the Ever Expanding Universe, The Most Serene Republic
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