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Broken Spirit, I Will Mend Your Wings

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Album Review

One thing ends, another begins. From the ashes of Canada's Tricky Woo, former members Andrew Dickson and Phil Burns have created the year's most exciting new rock monolith with Soft Canyon. Broken Spirit, I Will Mend Your Wings is the debut album by one of the most holistically rocked-out bands to come from Canada's interior in over a decade.

Soft Canyon is an amalgam of 1970s rock excess à la the original Amboy Dukes, Blue Cheer, Pink Floyd's majestic Atom Heart Mother, with lots of major chords; big, throbbing choruses; tripped-out psychedelic textures housed firmly in muddy guitar power chords; the aesthetic textures of Jack Nitzsche; great songs with floppy lyrics à la Van Dyke Parks on a muscular dose of acid; great artwork; riffs and hooks worthy of Arthur Lee's Love; and enough emotional transference to ignite even the most po' faced emo kid into a flurry of regal burning tears and bliss. This is rock music that is timeless, aesthetically beautiful, texturally intoxicating and sonically damaging to any psyche that feels complacency is a blessing. First there are the monstrously ringing guitars on "For You," the opening track. The guitars usher in harmony vocals at the same level as the lead singer's that echo the soul of Buffalo Springfield with teeth and a bridge so choice and so gorgeous that weeping is not out of the question. Crazy Horse's guitar solos are attached to sweeping psychedelic phases and washes of ambient noise. Then there's the tempered folk-ish rock optimism on "Hope's Great Divide," which falls to its sword on spiky lead lines and broken-hearted lyrics as Nikki Sudden sings with Strawberry Alarm Clock in Laurel Canyon. Add to this the depth and mysterious biker dimension of Steppenwolf's Monster on "Sunflight"; the Baroque, Floyd-ish extra terrestrial sprawl on the seven-plus minute poetically charged sex and love fest that is "We Threw Our Love Into the Universe"; and the 34 minutes that pass between the opening and closing of the album seem to inhabit the terrain on which lifetimes are lived, spent, broken, cried over, and transcended. This is glorious rawk for the high priests of love, death, and sonic redemption. And the graphics of this homemade masterpiece are enough to make one swoon. This is on Alien8 and it's the only rock & roll record the label has ever issued. What a way to get into the game. Hopefully this is the beginning of an entire encyclopedic realm for Soft Canyon. This blissed-out, weepfest orgy of sight and sound, luxuriant textures, and lysergic visions is a serious candidate for debut of the year.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Soft Canyon create hazy psychedelic rock with big choruses and trippy textures that draws from the Laurel Canyon scene, Love, pop-absurdist Van Dyke Parks, Neil Young, the Grateful Dead, and Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother. It's a towering set of influences, but Soft Canyon never fall into the trap of mimicry, instead crafting timeless, monolithic songs that -- just maybe -- could be lost gems from California in the '70s. The Montreal outfit formed in 2002 with Andrew Dickson of Tricky Woo on guitar...
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Broken Spirit, I Will Mend Your Wings, Soft Canyon
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