Brent Randall and His Pinecones Brent Randall and His Pinecones

It's safe to say there isn't anything else quite like this in Canadian music right now. With his boundless enthusiasm for the overwrought gesture, this strange Mr. Randall and his piano make over-the-top musical theatre for the indie set. The result is a weird distillation of Ben Kweller, the Bee Gees and ELO (including full choir arrangements), which makes for moments both sublime and garish. A fondness for the wildly theatrical is prerequisite here, but occasionally our Mr. Randall lets it get away from him. His tendency to pile it all on, for every song, is more demanding on the listener than it ought to be — the eccentricities would be tastier given some room to breathe, and a little intervention by Charles Austin, who produced it. If the album suffers from anything, it’s the tendency towards a uniform approach, though things do loosen up at the end. "These Days, These Knights" points the album in another direction, and opens up some new possibilities for the backing Pinecones. A debut that quite precisely introduces an odd and original new voice. (Independent)