Silt Cat's Peak

Silt Cat's Peak
A grand mix of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and a subdued Magnolia Electric Co., with just enough awkward singing and weird chord combinations to keep things interesting, this album is, simply, a pure delight. The threesome of Ryan Driver, Doug Tielli and Marcus Quin may also moonlight in more experimental bands but here they revel in their combined love of raw emotion and melody. Yet there’s a real push-pull in keeping things straightforward and the listener on their toes, and this dichotomy comes together wonderfully on "Taking a Walk.” Here, the harmonies in the chorus between the three men are damn near perfect and the drums keep the song going in a brisk and light fashion, but there’s also an echoed guitar that plucks its unusual notes at odd times, giving the perfection a great contrast. Another standout is "Sunlit Cloud,” which has outstanding rough-and-ready vocals expertly combined with a dirty guitar. Peak triumphs due to the playfulness and immediacy the songs convey. It’s as if the band are playing in your living room, hoping you’ll join them on their warped and absolutely original vision of traditional music. Please do.

How do you find a balance between the accessible and strange?
Doug Tielli: We can all sing in tune, play in time and play in key, and when things don’t fit in there is a gentle intentionality to that, but it isn’t like we really want to screw things up. We want to see what it’s like to have sweet and sour or, like, crunchy and smooth. There is a joy in the conflicts or what seem like conflicts. Sometimes it seems like a conflict but as you kind of relax or live with it for longer, it actually isn’t a conflict but a new kind of space that you can listen in.

Why does the band focus on in this particular genre?
I think it’s an unabashed love of traditional music played without affect or irony and with full room to be sung with all your voice and those three-part harmonies and singing together is a great feeling. All of our extra instruments and queer ideas about arrangement and stuff are what we bring along without being able to not bring it along when we want to sing a simple song. We can’t just do it that way. It doesn’t seem to happen. (Fig)