Jim Guthrie A Thousand Songs (Three Gut)

The first CD release from Guelph’s young scientist of sound compiles tracks from his home rock cassettes over the last five years, as well as more recent material. If all is right in the universe, it should alert the world to the depths of his talents and, dare it be said, his genius. Guthrie has no profile outside of Guelph, Ontario, where he has served as a catalyst and inspiration for a whole generation of post-rockers and lo-fi punks. A Thousand Songs shows why everyone else should care, featuring hi-fi four- and eight-track recordings and Guthrie’s instrumental inventiveness, showing his dexterity on guitars, drums and oddball keyboards. Although much of the material is the type of 3AM reflective melancholy typical of most home rock, Guthrie — unlike many a home rock whiz — is also not afraid to rock out or find his groove. The only track that features his mind-blowing live ensemble, the Jim Guthrie Quintet, is “Sexy Drummer,” an obvious album highlight. But the band isn’t necessarily missed elsewhere; “Focus on Floor Care” finds Guthrie delving into electronics and beats, easily wiping the floor with the Ninja Tune roster. Guthrie’s work deserves to be recognised as much more than the documentation of a local hero. If scatterbrained merchants of free-for-all madness such as The Beta Band can land on the cover of national magazines in this country, there’s no reason why Jim Guthrie shouldn’t be turning heads from coast to coast. (Independent)