Friday, March 09, 2007

Uncut "Modern Currencies" (2007)

Surely this is the record that will finally elevate Uncut to the level of notoriety enjoyed by some of its lesser Toronto indie-rock compatriots. Uncut’s 2004 Paper Bag debut, Those Who Were Hung Hang Here, caught co-founder Ian Worang revitalizing what had begun as a dancefloor-attuned, techno-rock duo with Toronto producer Jake Fairley as a stormy, shoegazeschooled, four-piece guitar band that quickly established a reputation about town for fearsomely loud and intense live shows.

Two years on, the stable “2.0” Uncut lineup of Worang, co-frontman and guitarist Sam Goldberg, bassist/vocalist Derek Tokar and heavy-hitting drummer Jon Drew (sometime producer to Magneta Lane and Tokyo Police Club) has coalesced. The band has moved beyond its earlier penchant for brooding repetition and noise into a mercurial unit that has managed to go one heavier, while simultaneously introducing a spark of pop levity. The songwriting on Modern Currencies now allows for the ringing, knock-kneed anthemics of “New Cities” and “Never Say Never,” and galloping, Psychocandy- quoting sugar rushes like Goldberg’s wonderful “Kiss Me.” The vocals are now confidently upfront — and bolstered by guest appearances from Stop Die Resuscitate’s Ndidi Onukwulu on “Never Say Never” and the lovely Melissa Auf Der Maur on a further three tracks — and, thus, a more active element of the Uncut attack.

Force has its place, though, which might be why Modern Currencies is a bit slow to wind up before really gunning it into the red with a streak of blistering, guitar-glorious monsters in the latter going. Waiting for the record to properly uncork is part of the pleasure of listening. And when it does, look out. [iTunes here] [MySpace here].

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