Vernon alternative pop band //AMISTAD//offers up bold new visions on their third release, Talk Peace To a Wolf.
The youthful group brings new ideas and sounds together on an impressive and far-reaching EP, recorded in Vancouver, to showcase a deep collection of songs that move from atmospheric ballads to an uptake on art-rock.
//AMISTAD// is a collective of forward-thinking musos bent on having their way with contemporary sounds within a rock/pop format. They expand that form with sweeping hooks against a multi-textured neo-pop context. The band appears to follow the example of bands like 21 Pilots and The 1975, but that’s just on the surface.
Listening to this young band over the last few years reveals their creativity and sense of style. The two are a killer combination – style and show.
//AMISTAD// has another character, a presence that recalls the melodies of English folk-rock groups Mumford & Sons and Dry the River. This is heard on the dramatic keyboard driven song Desolation Sound. The tune is a blend of reflection and idealism. It starts on the bleak moors and ends on a graffiti-covered skate park.
The band’s last record, Lee, hinted at electronic knowledge and art-rock values merging with the group’s grounding in pop-rock sensibilities. Talk Peace to a Wolf takes that aesthetic and runs home with it. The vocals are playful and committed, the guitars hooky and the rhythm section expansive.
This record is smart and entertaining, and the promise hinted at in their earlier music is realized here. The sense of abstraction and sound as colour hits the mark with Radikal. They sound like they’re thinking outside convention but presenting the notion in an identifiable and edgy pop situation.
Talk Peace to a Wolf is a deep listening experience from an artistic band on the rise.
Ed note: //AMISTAD//launches Talk Peace to a Wolf in concert at the Paddlewheel Park Hall May 27. Joining the band will be Windmills. Visit http://www.amistadband.com for details.
– Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews the latest music releases for The Morning Star every Friday.