Tournament of Hearts

BY Alex MolotkowPublished Nov 1, 2005

Possibly the most disappointing thing about the Constantines’ latest release is the fact that the band could do much better, and have. Their self-titled debut was a scalding, spitting cauldron of country-bound angst, but that particular sound doesn’t transfer well to an arena setting, which is where this album seems to be planted. Things get off to a decent start: the opener, "Draw Us Lines,” is a sort of grunge march, with a slow, heavy drumbeat, a power-tool guitar drone, a constant, cat-call melody and a rousing "Hey!” every so often. The follower, "Hotline Operator,” starts off with a tense, minimal verse… and builds up to a climax that comes like a little hiccup. So begins Tournament of Hearts. What the band are trying to do is not quite clear — listening to it is like walking into a delivery room mid-birth and, disappointed and a little upset by the scene, having to wait outside again. The songs skim through weak country-psych, melancholy alternative rock, half-assed rock’n’roll and even Britpop, but never seem to settle properly or borrow sufficiently from any genre. There’s something bubbling, but it’s a weak broth. Sure, there are pops and splashes — "Good Nurse” is wistful, and "You Are a Conductor” is interesting compared to the rest of the album — but there isn’t any flavour. This is a release on par with a lot of indie rock music circa now — and it’s kind of a shame.
(Three Gut)

Latest Coverage