Actual Water

The Paisley Orchard

BY Nicole VilleneuvePublished Jan 24, 2012

Toronto, ON's Actual Water have been making a strange collage of sounds for a few years, and on their newly re-released The Paisley Orchard (it was previously released before receiving a national push this month on Unfamiliar), they've done an about-face, redefining their lo-fi ambiguity into an homage to the '60s jangle-pop sounds they were brought up on. They haven't completely abandoned their experimental side though. The title track opens with a hacking cough (literally) and its swooping pop groove is buried underneath a sheet of psych and snarling vocals, while openers "Pale Ways" and "Ivory and Oak" all but cover up the harmonious "oohs" and "aahs" under their garage rock dust-ups. The band have found new strengths in the shift; "Summer in the End" hypnotizes with rudimentary hooks, while the shimmering Big Star power pop of "Brighton" comes undone quickly and instinctually at the very end, keeping Actual Water just weird enough.

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