Published Mar 12, 2016Well into his second decade of musical exploration, Guelph, Ontario frontman Nathan Lawr and his Minotaur orchestra return with an engrossing new release, their first since 2013. Fans of extended jams will rejoice, as the song lengths here clock in at an average of nearly six minutes on the six-song album. Even if that isn't your cup of tea, though — please don't let that turn you away.
A mix of rock, neo-psychedelia and space funk, the album feels like more like a continuum than a collection of tracks. Afro-beat influences shape the rhythm and feel of the record. Staying true to its title, melodic inundations of horns, guitar and percussion rush in like a wave, often tidal and occasionally tender. Lawr's lyrics carry a heavy load; perfectly suited to his vocal style, they summon an image of a mad man yelling down from atop a mountain.
The album's production doesn't miss a beat, nor an empty space; these compositions are packed to the brim. Although it feels like a big picture work, there are many key nuances that add aesthetic flavour. (Guest vocals by Tamara Lindeman of the Weather Station are a particularly nice touch on standout track "Gold Rush Lady.")
Weird Waves is a journey anyone bored of the three-minute pop formula needs to take. It's refreshing to see an artist providing room for exploration not just for a one-off track, but a whole record. As soon as this album carries you to shore, you'll find yourself swimming back out for another ride — and you won't regret it. (Static Clang)