Six albums in, and Jeremy Sills and Frank Smith still seem to be discovering themselves musically. With their latest LP, Maps – Burned or Lost, the Ottawa duo have tapped the fruits of their patience, crafting a whopping 70 minutes of music that finds each track unfolding and revealing itself at a pleasingly woozy pace.
Bringing in a handful of exceptionally tenured and celebrated local guest musicians, including Jesse Stewart on percussion, Marianne Dumas on keyboards and Petr Cancura on mandolin, Maps – Burned or Lost is instrumentally expansive and sonically adventurous. Producer Phillip Victor Bova gives many of the album's 14 songs an arrestingly distant and cavernous vocal sound, courtesy of Frank Smith. The vocalist provides listeners with a clear-eyed vision that works off of surprisingly percussive and dusty delivery for an album so polished and well-sequenced, as noted on "Miss Us" and "On the Edge."
Although Sills & Smith have often been described as prog rock enthusiasts, the band take their sweet time on Maps – Burned or Lost, assuring that a cornucopia of sounds and genres are represented while simultaneously matching the sensibilities of these accomplished musicians impeccably. (Independent)