blacksmile, I agree the album is unusual, which is part of why I posted it here. I pretty much knew what HG's reaction would be before I posted it, but I wasn't sure what anyone else would think on here. It's definitely not something you would ever expect to hear at Sasquatch.
I do find it interesting that both you and HG mentioned it was somewhat creepy / scary, since I really don't get that vibe at all from anything on the album. Maybe I just read too many horror short stories and listen to too much illbient electronic music to find this unnerving, but I find it challenges me in an enjoyable way.
Joel freaking Plaskett. Joel has been a mainstay on the Canadian indie scene for over two decades now, and is truly one of Canada's most unique talents.
Plasketts career began in the early 90's with the Halifax based group Thrush Hermit. After a moderately successful run (especially in the east coast), the band broke up at the end of the 90's. Plaskett then ventured out on his own with several solo records and several records with his new band, The Emergency.
Released in 2001, Down at the Khyber was Joel Plasketts second record after the break up of Thrush Hermit, and his first record with The Emergency. In my opinion, this is easily his best work. This album finds Joel at a real turning point in his career, and it is a great mix of the artist he used to be, and the artist he would become in the future. There are elements of the grunge-y blues rock that formed the sound of Thrush Hermit, the pop-rock sound that would be the sound of The Emergency and also the folk-rock sound that you find in his solo work.
Aside from Joels always stellar song-writing, two things really stand out to me on this record. Firstly, Joels guitar-playing is incredible. As an artist not really known before for his guitar work, Plaskett really lays it down on this record. Secondly was the massive influence of drummer Dave Marsh. This was the first record that Marsh performed on, and the two have been together ever since (Marsh has been on every Plaskett record since, Joel produced and performed on Marsh's solo records...). Marsh really tightens up the sound of the group and lays down some good ole white boy soul.
"True Patriot Love" was the big single off the record, and was the first time Plaskett started getting some national airplay. However, in my opinion it is one of the weakest tracks on the album. "Waiting to be Discovered" is the real stand out to me, along with "Light of the Moon", "Cry Together" and the title track, "Down at the Khyber".
As for criticisms of the album, well it mostly focuses on Plasketts voice. Some people that I have recommended Plaskett to find his high-pitched warble to be quite grating. I'm a big fan of his voice, I love the distinctiveness and the character it adds to his songs, but I can see where they are coming from. Also, this album is so unbelievably Canadian; it might turn some of you Americans off. Half the songs reference Canadia, whether he's singing about Nova Scotia or the prairies. Hell, the big single is even called "True Patriot Love" (a line from our national anthem).
Down at the Khyber is one of my all time favorite albums from one of my all time favorite artists. This album was ranked #46 on the Greatest Canadian Album list that came out a couple years ago. Plaskett has had such an fascinating and unique career (his last two albums were a concept album about a rock, and a triple album of folk songs he did with his father....seriously), dude is a national treasure.
Post by Horned Gramma on Aug 15, 2011 20:16:29 GMT -5
Dont'cha worry, lumpy-doodle. I've noticed there's a healthy lag of about five days while people make sincere attempts to digest people's selections. Personally I've been re-visiting Teenager of the Year repeatedly this week (the first quality time I've spent with it in about four years, honestly). I'll get my thoughts down in the next day or so; your extensively thoughtful review on it cast it in a far different light than I've ever considered it before, and it's been solidly in my top 25 records of all time for at least ten years.