As the Poets Affirm Awake

Having already earned a reputation as one of Canada’s most intriguing post-rock outfits, As the Poets Affirm bolster such proclamations with the wholly inventive Awake. Ottawa’s proclivity for breeding stunningly precise hardcore bands has rubbed off on this six-member group, whose jazz-infused mathematical song structures are angst-ridden and innovative. "Awake Chaos” sheds its deceptively poppy skin for an ominous breakdown and "The Suburbs of a Secret” leaves a Steady Diet of Nothing-era Fugazi groove behind for an explosive time signature transition and horns gone wild meltdown. Vocally and musically, June of 44 is conjured up for the gritty, off-centre "From Drenched and Dripping Apple Trees,” while the band’s confrontational nature shines through on the opening stomps of "We Represent Melpomene,” which ultimately melds into a glitch-y, yet pleasant, piano- and horn-led excursion. Such instrumentation is seldom employed in any subtle manner — every layer of sound hits the listener with full-bodied vigour and intent. As dynamic songs like the brooding "Carved Face” demonstrate, the results can be dizzying and electrifying. Front to back, Awake is a stunning achievement by As the Poets Affirm, great contributors to this country’s eclectic prog punk network. (Zunior)