The Cansecos

The Cansecos

(Upper Class; 2003)

By Aaron Newell | 22 September 2004

Toronto glitch-poppers the Cansecos have pissed off a lot of wannabe bedroom/laptop producers. With their debut album they’ve managed to take the most heard-before generic downloadable electro-sounds and employ them in their absolute, best-possible ultimate uses ever, period. Now every DJ Jason Smooth and Laptop Wiz Phil will have to go find their own shit to sample.

There is an overarching paradoxical feel of organic synthetics here, high-pitched wineglasses add a creeping-glacial effect to many of the record’s songs, the drums are programmed but retain a certain chunkiness, and songs may synth-whiz by you but are so textured and carefully-wrought that they salvage an air of “growing, living thing” more than caculating robot. Vocalists Bill Halliday and Gareth Jones coldly deadpan around some sneaky little gems such as: “Science hopes that math revokes the history of the world’s geography, so all things could make more sense / Business hopes religion chokes the life out of the religious folks, so we all can safely consume, and make them dollars and cents” (“In Bloom”).

Stay calm, the preachiness stops here before it starts; the lyrics are more akin to intellectual jungle gyms at recess than auditorium addresses. Igloos, blue whales, harpoons, Quebec, and holy wars all get airtime on The Cansecos. Near the album’s close when Halliday commands, “Walkman entertain me now and please don’t play no shit no more / You can honestly propose to be some method for recovery,” we’re once again reminded of the cold comfort found in our humming pocket technology. Such thematic consistency in both topic and execution is a rare, welcome feat in today’s indie pop. OK Computer this is not, but if you like a lot more personality in your Notwist, the Cansecos have a goretex hug for you.