As the Poets Affirm / Coming Home to Traffic Patterns Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa ON - November 11, 2005

If you're a local independent band trying to slog it through the music world, the one saving grace can always be a hometown show. Of course, if you're still trying to leave your hometown, things can be a little different. Ottawa's As the Poets Affirm already have two albums of subtle, beguiling post-rock behind them and, as evidenced by a new sonic direction, they already have a stage presence and inventiveness that belies their age. Firstly, though, there was Lindsay, ON's Coming Home to Traffic Patterns, who, unlike ATPA, tear a page straight from the post-rock handbook. Quiet then loud, they have a great baseline to work from but a little more variety and volume would have done wonders. Should be interesting to see what they sound like a couple of years from now. As for the Poets, the packed club showed the friends had definitely been amassed and, besides the sound mix that left almost every song with unnaturally bottom-heavy fuzz, they did not disappoint. Smartly putting the Keith Moon-style drummer centre stage, there was more energy than expected. This was helped by the crazy number of instruments, which included cello, trumpet, cornet, and a spectacular bass clarinet. Cramming that amount of instrumentation and seven members onto a small stage definitely created a sweaty inventiveness. Indeed, while the creative direction was usually all over the map, evidenced by the combination of dance-punk and free jazz in one song, there was a definite feeling that something interesting was brewing. This band is young, ambitious and has musical talent to spare and while there are many bloody corpses in indie warfare that fit that description, one listen during a live show may instil that great, quiet hope that things, for once, will work out just fine.