Raising the Fawn Sleight of Hand

This Toronto-based band are always a hard nut to crack. They easily move between immaculately composed pop songs and longer epics that tend to have various movements, tempos and emotions. Whenever these are mixed, the listener tends to get torn in each direction and never get a true feeling for the album. So, as an album this is slightly conflicted, but the songs? When they stand on their own they sparkle and prove that this band still have some tricks up their sleeve. "River of Gold” might be the best they’ve ever written, with John Crossingham’s soaring, muscular voice coming through loud and clear. Slightly more epic sounding is the fantastic "Cypress Fields,” which crackles as the band move away from their hesitant roots and grab the listener, demanding attention. Finally, for those who yearn for their earlier beauty, "A Lion in Winter” will satisfy with its extended codas and Crossingham’s unfaltering falsetto. There are definitely some strong songs but, like all tricks that require sleight of hand, there’s something missing in the end. (Sonic Unyon)