DO MAKE SAY THINK with CREEPING NOBODIES at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), tonight (Thursday, April 4). $8. 416-532-1598.
the members of toronto spacerock ensemble Do Make Say Think have good reason to insist that their music should be heard on headphones.Three records in, the group have defined themselves as a studio band, and while the Do Makes' new & Yet & Yet disc sounds impressive through speakers, it's at close quarters, with headphones strapped to your head, that the record truly takes shape.
Despite being recorded at home, & Yet & Yet is the most layered record of the band's impressive career, elaborately arranged and featuring soft washes of horns throughout. It's a very subtle recording, one where the real star could be the massive mix by Do Make members Charles Spearin and Ohad Benchetrit.
& Yet & Yet, whose seven tracks have been shaped into one long piece, is the definition of Do Make Say Think as a studio band, showcasing the group's growing comfort with the technology and how they can use and abuse it.
"I think we're two different bands, one that does all this shit in the studio and another that plays the stuff live," guitarist Justin Small reasons. "We love being in the studio, and that's where a lot of this stuff is written."
"You have so many chances to play with things and mould them as they come up," bassist Spearin continues. "This time around everyone had their own ideas and own visions, and we ended up creating an album that was the product of a complete band vision.
"We've realized that an independent record doesn't have to be lo-fi. It doesn't have to sound like a record made by poor people, even though it was."
& Yet & Yet has a familiar feeling but is not a direct sequel to the group's widely praised 2000 set, Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landlord Is Dead.
"Everybody in the band is a little sick of post-rock, and we all want to try different things," Spearin admits. "We've all been living distinct little lives, so everyone wants to pull the sound of the band in different directions."
"We try to be conscious of whether we're sounding too much like someone else, or even ourselves," drummer James Payment nods.
"We'd switch instruments and record things differently," Spearin continues, "just to keep alternate strategies open and hopefully avoid getting locked into one thing."
One of the ways the Do Makes are keeping things interesting is by initiating a contest where each member has to grow a different kind of facial hair on tour.
Music-wise, they've broken their long-standing embargo on vocals. & Yet & Yet features some disembodied singing by pal Tamara Williamson that begins as a frail voice on the song Soul And Onward and suddenly swells into an eerie chorus. It's a first, but don't get used to it.
"We were really nervous about bringing a human voice," laughs Small.
"I think the one thing that saved it for us was that she wasn't actually singing any words," Spearin concedes. "Lyrics come with too much baggage. The one thing about being a band with no vocals is that the music means something different to each person.
"Once someone starts singing about their own life, that's immediately what the song is about. Without that, people are free to fill in the blanks on their own, and we like that."firstname.lastname@example.org