Canadian indie pop ensemble The Most Serene Republic have created a musical buffet with their third full-length album, …And the Ever Expanding Universe, out on July 14. It’s no stretch to connect the title to the group’s musical stylings, as the record touches on classical, jazz, disco, and everything in between. This approach allows The Most Serene Republic to operate less like an rock band and more like a chamber orchestra, with each member’s individual strength given its share of the spotlight.
The band’s musically diverse lineup, which incorporates a banjo and trombone among other more conventional instruments, consists of seven 24-year-old musicians hailing from Milton, Ontario who have been playing together since they were teenagers.
“Universe” certainly incorporates elements of other-worldliness, whether it’s the feeling of floating through space, as evoked by songs like “All of One is the Other” or the fact that the co-ed vocals courtesy of lead singer/trombonist Adrian Jewett and guitarist Emma Ditchburn often get lost in the swirl of instruments around them.
Arts & Crafts
July 14, 2009
Many of the songs on the record possess a potent air of melodrama. Leadoff track “Bubble Reputation” is a rock opera in itself, opening “Universe” with theatrical horns and later letting the rest of the instruments build to an operatic crescendo. Classically-trained pianist Ryan Lenssen shows off his chops on the excellent dramatic instrumental “Patternicity” a song whose layered strings make it reminiscent of a John Williams score.
But “Universe” also provides an outlet for The Most Serene Republic’s pop sensibilities. Perhaps the most accessible tune is the high-energy, synth-infused “Don’t Hold Back, Feel a Little Longer.”
Casual music fans might not appreciate …And the Ever Expanding Universe. It’s music for the fickle-minded. But while The Most Serene Republic never dwells on one style for too long, they still manage to make their sound cohesive.