CD Review: the unquiet dead – Tales of The Unquiet Dead Book One
Windsor’s folk darlings, the unquiet dead, have shared a stage with Yukon Blonde, The Schomberg Fair, and Elliot Brood, and they have even found their way into Canada’s largest music festival at Canadian Music Week.
But their crowning achievement to date is the independent release of their debut album, Tales of the Unquiet Dead Book One. The album was recorded with Mark Plancke and Shark Tank Studios and released at The Capitol Theatre in early April.
Produced by Plancke and Daren Dobsky, one of the group’s chief songwriters, the unquiet dead present to listeners with this album a collection of short stories. The tales follow no particular theme, ranging from regret and escape to love and loss, and everything in between. But in the presentation of every song, there is always an element, often indefinable, that is undeniably creepy.
With nine members in the band, it’s safe to assume that there is going to be a lot going on all the time. But even with the layers upon layers of vocals and various instruments, the band keeps things from getting overwhelming, leaves breathing space, through some very nice attention to dynamics, panning, and frequency ranges.
The entire album is smooth and non-offensive, slipping past with silky guitar tones, velvety vocals, and polished percussion. The actual genre of the band is difficult to pin down, as each song has it’s own unique flavour, a different bit of genre influence.
The up-beat singalong Rescue Me has some vocals that wouldn’t be out of place in an 80’s soul-pop song, While Hard Road could fit well onto the O Brother, Where Art Thou sound track, thanks to it’s heavy bluegrass sound. For The Moon could easily be from the Adam and Kris album In The Garden, a song that it likely to cause much hand-holding and swaying in unison, while St. James The Moocher might be played in some suave martini lounge where heavy-lidded ladies rest upon the arms of tight-suited men with slicked back hair.
Best described as hauntingly beautiful, in Tales of The Unquiet Dead Book One listeners aren’t going to find tracks to break their neck or fist pump to, but they’ll find stories worth hearing presented in a way that is as timeless as it is soothing. Each time listening through this album you’re likely to walk away having picked upon some new subtlety hidden within the songs innumerable layers and folds.
Let’s rate this album two stout servings of good brandy and a bonfire by the lake at sunset. Best songs? Lord Loves A Workin Man and St. James The Moocher.
Tales of The Unquiet Dead Book One can be purchased at Dr Disc in Downtown Windsor, or online at CDBaby.com. If you’re interested in catching the unquiet dead live, they have two shows this Saturday, May 5th, one at Walkermole in Walkerville during the day, and the other at FM Lounge, Downtown, at night.