The Expos Blackwater

The Expos Blackwater
Meet my new favourite band. Why? Because this quartet push the limits of their chosen genre ― reggae ― far beyond most of their contemporaries and many of their labelmates, and appear blissfully unaware that this isn't something that's normally done. With a singer-songwriter sense of craft and a lush art-pop agenda lurking in the background, Blackwater is a unique release both for Stomp and reggae in general. Blackwater starts normal enough. "Another Waste" is introduced with horns, followed by Reed Neagle's slacker vocals, but once we hear the Sergio Leone guitars, it's apparent something is different. Many tracks follow this pattern, sounding a bit like Sean Bones crossed with early Specials ― an excellent pairing, to be sure. But tracks like the delicate "Rough Stone" or the rousing "Dying Too Long" (songs Canada's greatest songwriter, Joel Plaskett, could have penned) find the band easily breaking the mould. "Company Of Wolves," a drum machine-led exercise in repetition, borders on annoying, but in context of the full album functions to show the band's breadth of experimentation. This experimentation culminates in the final (hidden) track where the Expos indulge in a sprawling symphonic crescendo that leaves you spent and satisfied. (Stomp)