Amer Diab The Year of the Apology

If Toronto guitarist/vocalist Amer Diab has anything to apologise for it has to do with his cooptation of the late Robert Palmer’s aesthetic appetite for cloned babes in skimpy outfits, as evidenced by this disc’s confounding cover art. Musically, the album plies decidedly rootsy, mid-tempo rock territory akin to recent material by the likes of Jim Bryson and Ryan Adams. Diab is an expressive vocalist with a keen melodic sense and a bit of a whiskey rattle à la Jeff Tweedy. He’s got some well-known friends, too, like Broken Social Scene collective members Brendan Canning and Andrew Whiteman, both of whom lend their talents here as backing musicians. Though extremely well crafted and thoughtfully arranged, the disc’s prevailing theme of lament, combined with material that rarely breaks out of low gear, makes for a heavy, somewhat exhaustive listening experience. The Year of the Apology is, therefore, a great album to listen to before heading out on the town, providing you intended to stay in all along, and all alone, for that matter. (Independent)