Stream Canopies' Majestic Debut Album "Maximize Your Faith"

Dec. 4, 2014
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Fewer critical consensus albums of the last five or six years have done less for me than Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion, a record I find downright cloying. But despite my distaste for that album, with its sickly tones, bleating vocals and drum-circle wonkiness, I do understand its appeal. It conveys a real sense of abandon, a sort of "dance like nobody's watching, sing like nobody's listening" disregard for appearances that must have felt like a refreshing break from the overly manicured indie rock of the time. And I get that same sense of liberation from Maximize Your Faith, the long-in-coming debut album from Milwaukee synth rockers Canopies.

That's not to box Canopies in with Animal Collective. Their sound is much cleaner and more corporeal than Animal Collectives'. Unlike the evaporating tones of Merriweather Post Pavilion, Maximize Your Faith's synths carry a real sense of weight. And as the album's catchy-as-all-get-out lead single "The Plunderers and The Pillagers" laid clear, Canopies aren't trying to disguise their pop impulses behind esoteric production choices.

But make no mistake about it, there is a sense of freedom in these songs, and it is utterly intoxicating. The Los Angeles band Capital Cities struck modern-rock gold with a similar mix of modernized New Wave a few years ago, and though Canopies' sound is slightly more psychedelic than that group's (a good deal less Los Angeles-ified), I wouldn't be surprised to see alternative radio take to these songs as well. They're thick and sublimely catchy. They make you feel good. Unlike Animal Collective, it's hard to imagine anybody not liking them.

Maximize Your Faith comes out Dec. 9 on Forged Artifacts Records, but you can hear the album now at Spin.com, which premiered it this morning.

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