Les Mouches

Les Mouches
This could have been a disaster. Three Toronto indie rock boys from relatively disparate parts of the inter-genre map throw their out-there heads and mutated hearts into a pile and see what heavenly perversions of sound bubble to the top. And in a sense, it is a disaster — the trick being that this particular combination of experience, vision/lack of vision, experimentation and heavy passion fits together like a brand new puzzle, not a piece missing or sloppily rendered. Owen Pallett, whose name is scribbled in the liner notes of records by the Hidden Cameras, the Jim Guthrie Band and Picastro for his exquisite violin contributions, writes most of these delicate folk songs. His fey whisper reaches across blushingly honest transgressions on a spectrum of emotion — he drags out tired feelings and balloons them to proportions impossible to ignore. Partnered with his technical skill in arranging music and with the addition of extra instrumentation (the horn section on "Little Poop” is stunning) his molehills become mountains of forceful noise that slide from delicate to frightening with cinematic ease. To back him up, Rob Gordon of melodic math rock band, From Fiction, beats random household junk, shakes jingle bells, hits a drum kit with dazzling talent, feeling and precision, and occasionally erupts into a fanatic screaming that startles sound guys and bumps heart rates up a notch. To round it out, Matt Smith’s (Nifty, John Wayner) accompanying guitar plays the surprise attacker — his song, "Spalding Man,” is an absolute stand-out with a lilting old-soul vocal line swimming beside some of the most melodic as well as disjointed string and guitar parts on the record. Add to all of this a heap of masturbatory intellectualism and you’ve got an artsy obscurist’s dream come true. Just wait till you see them live —Stephanie Comilang’s transfixing pin-hole projections hold you just long enough for the rest of the band to pin you down and force out at least a couple of tears.

Why did you decide to add Stephanie’s projections to your show? Pallett: Steph is a good friend of mine who does a lot of performance art and sculpture stuff. I saw her film at Matt’s birthday party and it was beautiful and I fell in love with her and then she joined the band.

You went to school for music composition? Yes, it was a disaster. I wrote an opera. It was kind of worthless. They really don’t have the abstract theory down and I found that very disappointing. But I put on a recital, I got an opera formed, and I met a lot of wonderful people, including Rob. The best thing about music school was being able to use the computers to print out vast scores of things that would never, ever get performed by our ridiculous faculty of ridiculous teachers and ridiculous musicians.

Did you write these songs specifically for Les Mouches? Two of them are songs that I wrote before. It is a collaborative process. The songs I had written before were perverted in wonderful ways as soon as I brought them to the band; they are only shadows of the songs that they once were.