BRUCE PENINSULA play the Great Hall on May 24. See listing. Rating: NNNN
In the 14-minute song cycle that is Bruce Peninsula's newest release, Neil Haverty and 14 other Toronto-area musicians stitch together a full album's worth of epic aural grandeur.
Split into three parts and, by my interpretation, about a man who finds salvation through song, Of Songs moves gracefully between single voices and angelic choirs, tender piano lines and arresting drum-and-banjo polyrhythms. (Timber Timbre's Taylor Kirk and Muskox's Mike Smith are listed in the credits.)
Few can arrange, stack and intertwine voices as masterfully as Haverty. In the astonishing second part, his rough, impassioned baritone trades off with equally assertive female voices - Misha Bower, Tamara Lindeman, Ivy Mairi and Daniela Gesundheit make appearances throughout - almost like in a round, with overlapping lyrics and echoes, everything building toward revelation.
The end grows soft and gorgeous, and then proggy and odd. The dynamism ensures your interest never wavers. Completely cinematic and hypnotic.
Top track: Of Songs