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...And the Ever Expanding Universe

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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

The Best of 2009

Having initially picked up the 'Population' album and struggled to engage with it I was blown away when I heard this. It does recquire you to really take time out and properly immerse yourself, but the huge variation in multi-layering used here leaves you surprised with every listen. Before this release I would have to have said 'DragonSlayer' by Sunset Rubdown pipped my album of 2009 but I would probably have to go as far back as 'Funeral' by Arcade Fire to find an album that is so beautifully enriched musically. Stunning work


Formed: 2003 in Milton, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

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....
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Top Albums and Songs by The Most Serene Republic

...And the Ever Expanding Universe, The Most Serene Republic
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