Toronto’s latest contribution to indie-rock is the puzzlingly-named Still Life Still, who’ve delivered an ambitious debut album with gentle melodies and a huge, reverb-drenched sound. Are these gentlemen harkening the Canadian Invasion? Not with this record. But Girls Come Too is a worthy first album that makes up in audacity for what it lacks in clarity.
Still Life Still are sometimes too loose for their own good. Their improvisational and haphazard instrumentation creates an airy spaciousness to their music, but it also makes the whole record sound a bit rushed, as if all the band members are always trying to catch up to each other. The album’s worst idea is the bonus track at the end of “Wild Bees,” which is an intolerable soup of distortion and fuzzy bass that competes with itself to make my eardrums bleed. On the flipside, there are also some truly great moments when the band is tight and lyrically engaging. “Flowers And A Wreath” sounds like a lost cut from a Broken Social Scene record, and on “Lite-Brite Lawns,” the band channels an Animal Collective-inspired percussion beat that drives behind a thoughtful and introspective melody.
Girls Come Too is a worthy effort, but it’s ideally listened to in short bursts. While sophisticated and intelligent, it’s far too sprawling and chaotic to listen to all at once. It’s like musical hummus—a full meal of it may give you indigestion, but it’s satisfying in small, pita-sized bites.