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Intercontinental Pop Exchange No. 3

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Album Review

The third volume in Endearing's Intercontinental Pop Exchange series pairs two of the leading lights of the modern chamber pop scene. Halifax's Heavy Blinkers and France's Orwell each contribute three glittering, heavily orchestrated gems. The Heavy Blinkers' songs feature one from their 2004 record, the lounge-y instrumental "Veranda Celeste," and two which are previously unreleased. "Maplewood" is a lush, piano-driven song with group vocals, full orchestration, and a pastoral feel thanks to the pedal steel; "Tribute to Sparrow" is a relatively sparse song (for them anyway) that sounds like there are 15 people playing on it compared to the usual 30. It is easy to see why the band counts Van Dyke Parks among their fans, since they sound very much like what Smile might have sounded like stripped of it's weird epic feel and replaced by relaxed and loving waves of peaceful feelings. The Orwell side features a new recording of their song "Monorail," an alternate mix of "Everywhere" from the group's second U.S. release, and a nice instrumental recorded for the EP, "Attic's Ballad." The songs are all lovely, smooth and easy chamber pop, somewhere between the gentle glide of the High Llamas and the rhythmic propulsion of Stereolab. Not the widest cross ever, or the most original sound, but it makes for very pleasant listening. Best of the lot is the version of "Monorail, which mixes in some Serge Gainsbourg crooning and a café atmosphere with the otherwise space age pop sound. Two great bands, six wonderful songs. Consider the third volume in Endearing's series a success.


Formed: 1997 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Lush orchestral pop sensation the Heavy Blinkers began as a 1998 solo project titled Hooray for Everything by Halifax, Nova Scotia-based songwriter Jason MacIsaac. When it came time to perform the record in a live capacity, he required a full band to help him. He enlisted friends Andrew Watt, Trevor Forbes, and Ruth Minnikin, each of whom had contributed to the first Heavy Blinkers album as, respectively, keyboardist, bassist, and vocalist. MacIsaac borrowed another friend, Greg Fry, from local band...
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Intercontinental Pop Exchange No. 3, The Heavy Blinkers/Orwell
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  • 5,94 €
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Pop/Rock
  • Released: 18 December 2003

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