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Album Review

Hailing from Guelph, Ontario, the Constantines exploded onto the Canadian independent music scene in 2001 with their self-titled debut, a complex collection of songs that pose questions without offering any clear answers. The band's lyrics read like the poetry of revolution, whether calling for the death of rock & roll (on the opening track, "Arizona"), storming metaphorical Bastilles on "Some Party," or turning a cliché Rod Stewart lyric ("Young hearts be free tonight/Time is on your side") into an earnest rallying cry on "Young Offenders." As good as the preceding tracks are, however, none of them prepare the listener for the abrupt left turn that occurs with "St. You," a powerfully mournful ballad (with lyrics worthy of Nick Cave or even Leonard Cohen) that ends in a wash of feedback, signaling the beginning of the excellent instrumental, "The McKnight Life." The final three tracks on the disc are just as strong as the rest, with "Steal This Sound" and "To the Lullabies" (sounding like they could have been featured in the film Fight Club) featuring lyrics such as "You sing like dynamite tonight/as we race through downtown financial sectors glowing, and we serenade with car alarms." Overall, the Constantines' debut is a stunningly strong effort, well worth repeated listens.


Formed: 1999 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Constantines first rocked their way out of Guelph, Ontario, in 1999, with Bryan Webb and Steve Lambke on vocals and guitar; bassist Dallas Wehrle; keyboardist Will Kidman; and drummer Doug McGregor. By 2001, the quintet had relocated to Toronto and issued their initial, eponymous full-length. The album's raw, moody mix of arty dub-punk with trad rock energy and pop angles was immediately and roundly embraced. The Constantines was nominated for a Best Alternative Album Juno award and topped the...
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Constantines, Constantines
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