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Release the Saviours

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Album Review

The Vancouverian septet's follow-up to the impressive debut A Thing to Live With takes their compositional skills and energy one step further: Release the Saviours is pure RIO dynamite. The playing is tighter, the tracks more complex, the music more exciting than on the first release — which wasn't a bad run for your money to start with! Stephen Lyons and company (including the four-handed, four-footed drumming monster formed by the pairing of Dan Gaucher and Skye Brooks) are in top form here, blending influences from the fields of Rock in Opposition, avant-prog, free jazz, Americana, punk, and modern West Coast jazz. The album opens with the short and relatively gentle "Hebvark," the only track on this album approaching the single format. Less short but still reasonable are the textural, dirge-like "Let's Carve Forever Together" and the upbeat "Dreaming of Betrayal, Awakening Refreshed." But the real mind-blowers, head-bangers, and nut-scratchers are found among the longer tracks: "Pemberdunn Maple Wolfs" (12 minutes), "Born Again Ready" (12 minutes), and the thrilling "A Long Way to Temporary" (15 minutes). The latter is a fabulous piece of progressive rock (in the meaning Chris Cutler gives to the phrase) that takes you from King Crimson to Henry Cow to Miriodor to Present and back, while staying true to Fond of Tigers' own signature (a signature much indebted to Jesse Zubot's violin and JP Carter's trumpet). This album offers a fine balance between catchy hooks, crunchy riffs, and textural free-form interludes, all rolled into a different brand of avant-rock/prog rock that could only come from the West Coast, either north or south of the Canada/U.S. border. For fans of groups like the aforementioned, or even Les Projectionnistes, Secret Chiefs 3, or Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Release the Saviours is a must for 2008. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Release the Saviours, Fond of Tigers
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