Since the breakthrough of Broken Social Scene’s breathtaking You Forgot it in People, discovering the Canadian supergroup’s extended family has proven as rewarding, if not more so, as it was hearing People for the first time. Stars, Metric, Do Make Say Think and KC Accidental all have released albums worthy of repeated listens, though the newest addition, Apostle of Hustle, is an even more intriguing, and somewhat peculiar, branch.
Broken Social Scene member Andrew Whiteman is the central songwriter of Apostle of Hustle, a group with as much potential to take over the reins as the new Canadian superstars of indie, though their part-time status as an actual band may prevent that (yeah, yeah, heard that one before.) Inspired largely by Whiteman’s time living in Cuba, Folkloric Feel is an invigorating and altogether unique amalgamation of sounds and textures. In many ways, AoH is very similar to Broken Social Scene, both melodic and chaotic, dealing in layers and seemingly disparate elements. But in an odd way, Apostle of Hustle almost sounds like what would happen if the Books attempted playing noisy rock music. It’s cerebral, graceful and sublime, but quirky and unpredictable all the same.
The opening title track encompasses all that is great about this album: folky guitars, pretty melodies, destructive drum beats, shoegazer textures and an altogether brilliant marriage of these elements into one rock and roll mini-symphony. The actual Cuban influences aren’t as immediately obvious until the third track, “Baby, You’re in Luck,” a two-minute folk track with lovely female backing vocals. In a peculiar way, the song recalls the elaborate compositions of Jeff Buckley, albeit performed in a far subtler manner.
In many ways, Apostle of Hustle seems more exciting and accessible than Broken Social Scene, but I find myself going back and forth on both fronts. The truth of the matter is both bands are brilliant, only fewer people have heard Apostle of Hustle. Folkloric Feel is a complex and intelligent record made by a truly talented and multi-faceted songwriter. Asking for a follow-up to this within two years may be asking a lot, but in the meantime, there’s no way this record will wear out its welcome.
Jeff Buckley – Grace
Microphones – The Glow, Part 2
Broken Social Scene – You Forgot it In People
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.