Rheostatics 2067

Rheostatics 2067
Though they’ve always possessed distinctive musical visions, kindred spirits Martin Tielli, Tim Vesley and Dave Bidini seem farther apart than ever on 2067 — a sleeper collection of solid new songs by their band the Rheostatics. For his part, Tielli continues to write the kind of idiosyncratic compositions that define him as an impassioned artist. Of his three blustery art-rock gems here, "The Tarleks” is the most satisfying thanks to a Beatle-esque hook and Tielli’s manic phrasing, which recalls David Byrne. Vesley remains the overtly political conscience of the band, writing pointed barbs like "Marginalized” with the sensibilities of a seasoned, pop-song master. Against heavy, stabbing guitars and Michael Philip Wojewoda’s stuttering drums, Vesley’s voice soars gracefully above the din. He achieves a similar result on "Here Comes the Image,” but then this is what we’ve generally come to expect from Vesely; he writes grand pop songs with great humility. Bidini, however, eschews attempts to draw any real conclusions about his songwriting, occasionally employing much of his palette in one song (i.e. the fun but overwrought "I Dig Music”). While "Power Ballad for Ozzy Osbourne” finds Bidini chastising the reality TV star’s recent lack of "rocking,” ironically his finest moment on 2067 comes with the gentle paean, "Little Bird, Little Bird,” which is perhaps the least schizophrenic of his songs here. While 2067 is full of varied sounds and surprises, the most gratifying instances are the least forced, the ones where the Rheostatics each employ the unpredictable dynamics that they have pioneered as one of music’s most cherished collectives.

Why 2067? Bidini: It’s really not for any particular reason. We’ve chronically avoided numbers over our career so we’re entering the numbers game here. Also, I think it’ll look good lit up behind us on stage.

Have busy individual schedules affected the band’s creativity? If you’re not always breathing down each other’s necks, when you do have a chance to get together, it’s more special in a way. We tend to cram all of our creative impulses into a shorter amount of time than we used to, which might in fact feed our creative process.

After all these years, what keeps the band going? A magic potion that we administer to each other? Homosexual frustration? All of the above! Whatever it is that brings us together to work on the band, it’s high humour. It’s like being 12 years old, climbing up the tree and going into the clubhouse and burning insects by the light of the sun through a magnifying glass; it’s just so much fun, really. (MapleMusic)