Spoon River Kingdom Of The Burned

A few years ago, Montrealer Tavis Triance and his cohorts in the Royal Mountain Band caused a bit of stir when they appeared in I'm Not There supporting Cate Blanchett's wonderful turn as Bob Dylan, circa Blonde On Blonde. Although an album seemed imminent in the wake of the film, Triance instead pulled up stakes and headed for the west coast, forming an entirely new band upon arrival. Spoon River's debut stays true to Triance's devotion to classic folk rock, as the album's ten tracks evoke Canadiana touchstones, from the Band to Crazy Horse. Triance's vision is much darker than those of his heroes though, almost providing a counterpoint to the easy-going vibe that California contemporaries like Vetiver present. The only thing working against Kingdom Of The Burned is its obvious sonic simplicity, which often detracts from the group's fine performances. But it's only a minor distraction on an album that otherwise states that Spoon River are more than up to the challenge of carrying the CanRock torch. (Northern Electric)