by Tiana Feng
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Label: Static Clang
Whatever the Minotaurs decide to name themselves, it’s still the platform for expression for Nathan Lawr. New Believers is a political album with his thoughts on G20 and the Quebec student protests. Perhaps it is the timing of their release, because these subjects seem to be already forgotten about in the new year and awkward to bring up again.
Like its predecessor, The Thing, their latest New Believers experiments with jazz and afrobeat rhythms. The 8 tracks sound like good friends (including Sarah Harmer and Ohbijou’s Casey Mecja) got in a room and started to jam. There is a sense of that live improvised energy. However with over 12 people in a group it is hard not to feel like there is too much stuff going on sometimes. The bright trombone, trumpets and saxophones juxtapose Nathan Lawr’s solemn vocals in a way that the political message occasionally gets lost.
My dilemma is that the afro-beat jam qualities are quite enjoyable on their own, for instance in the long instrumental ending of “Make Some Noise”. In “Split the Atom” we can hear that Nathan’s vocals are quite beautiful and beautiful when stripped down. However, everything at once is overwhelming and the songs delve close into sounds-the-same territory.
You can stream the entire album over at Exclaim!.