Neuseiland Neuseiland

Halifax now has its very own avant-rock super group. Ex-Superfriendz Charles Austin and Drew Yamada join forces with Joel Plaskett (Thrush Hermit), along with Andrew Glencross and Tim Stewart to devise an inventive collaboration that experiments with sound and style as much as it embraces the glories of traditional songwriting. On the traditional front "Five Easy Pieces" is a rough hewn rawk out, "All Your Andantes" and "When You Get Back From The War" provide a couple soft countrified ballads while "Underwater Sunlight" delivers a supreme keyboard-driven pop confection. The artier material includes the album's instrumental opener "Sinister Sister," which begins with a lulling keyboard melody and builds into a full on organ/guitar rave up. "Robots Of Me" meshes the Beatles with Kraftwerk for a fine bleeping electro-pop outing, while "Wanna Want To" takes on some powerful trance rock. My personal fave, however, is "Cheerio Days Off," which takes a traditional folk melody as a lifting off point into wild instrumental prog/psych excursion. Strangely enough the recording holds together this diverse range of styles, as all involved seem to be feeding off one another. Seeing the creative spark ignite on this Neuseiland debut makes one hope that this collective has some staying power. (Ultramagnetic)