Voit The Moon Hour

What purports to be the debut CD of some band called Voit is actually the swan song release of defunct Winnipeg art-rock/psych-pop quartet Grand Theft Canoe. No, there wasn't any fuck-up at the print shop. Rather, GTC guitarist/vocalist Evan Kroeker (now residing in Minneapolis) took it upon himself to issue the band a posthumous name change for the occasion. Though bemused by Kroeker's unsolicited decision, the band's other members are said to be more relieved than anything, now that somebody finally mustered the energy to release the album once and for all. Recorded way back in the autumn of '96, the album was shopped around half-heartedly to various independent labels, first with the title Dutch Oven, then as The Night Show. Regardless of its age, though, these 12 tracks sound as though they could be candidates for an upcoming Elephant 6 release. This is melodic pop of an extremely dynamic and original order, full of crafty arrangements and solid performances throughout. Kroeker's talents as a wordsmith are second only to his knack for constructing brilliant and effective vocal melodies capable of carrying a tune outright. Highlights (and there are many) include the sarcastic, socially-critical tracks "Trouble TV" and "National Health," the soaring and majestic "To The Craters" and "Pilot Mound," wherein Kroeker plays fast and loose with folklore to elevate a small Manitoba farming community to global stature. Produced by Toronto's Brenndan McGuire, The Moon Hour is one of the most complex and compelling Canadian pop albums in recent memory. One can only wonder what else GTC might have come up with had they managed to keep up the good fight. (Moon Hour)