CD Review: Ontario Plates – Forever EP

Posted: February 23, 2012 by Windsor Zene in CDs, Reviews

 Ontario Plates make it very clear that Forever is a
dedication EP for the late Robert Bracewell and Rose
Voyvodic. With that in mind, you donʼt have to press play to
realize that the album is going to be very emotionally driven.
Especially when I linked the dedicated surnames to the names
of the current band members.

I had the pleasure of going to see Ontario Plates perform in
Toronto recently, which made reviewing their latest EP a no brainer. I never got a
chance to ask where their style derives from or who their influences are, but in my
opinion they are a post-rock band that fuze jazzy undertones (evident in the drummers
style) to create elongated guitar and piano based instrumental pieces. They are the
definition of dynamic contrast, which made for a very enthusiastic and emotional live
performance. They primarily use two guitars, a stage piano, Tenor Sax, bass and a
drum kit.

The two actual songs on Forever, Robert and Rose, are around 10 minutes long and
according to the EPs prelude, were recorded in one take. Needless to say these guys
are far from being considered amateur. The first song, Robert, is 9 and a half minutes
long, formulated by a loud-soft dynamic pattern which is consistent throughout the
course of both songs. Robert starts off soft and does not take long to get into the first
shoe-gazing climax, which progresses into a math-rock styled jam where they truly
achieve ʻepicʼ. It then decrescendos into a melodic, up and down symphonic sounding
instrumental break until you discover the bands use of vocals. Now, the vocals used
arenʼt your typical post-rock, cutesy little spectral moans and hums, which can
sometimes make songs like these awkward (yah, you, Sigur Ros). No. It goes right into a
really well orchestrated sestina poem, which uses the same words over and over again
while following the same loud-soft dynamic until it climaxes back into the music’s usual
instrumentation. Three words. Yes, fuck yes.

The last song, Rose, is in many ways similar to the first song. It follows the same loud-
soft dynamic that eventually interludes into some more spoken word poetry. At first I
thought it might have been too repetitive but soon realized that the similarities probably
have deeper meaning because of the prologued dedication. That made me realize how
different the song actually is and aloud me to appreciate and interpret the beauty behind
the idea.

I found it extremely difficult to find any kind of constructive criticism throughout this EP,
other than the fact that I wish it was a full length album. In my opinion this music is what
I wish more artists would strive toward, and that is putting out something raw and real
with a gradual transition into something more progressive and produced. Its all about
ʻfinding your soundʼ first, which is exactly what Ontario Plates have done here. There
are no cheap gimmicks or obvious studio trickery. This EP is tasteful musical bliss,
which isnʼt a term I ever use lightly, but dammit, thatʼs how I feel.

The album is available on their Facebook page  for free with the option of buying both (which I highly
recommend). If you ever get the chance to see them perform live, I highly recommend
that too.

Favorite songs – I enjoyed the whole thing from start to finish.


Nicholas Angelini


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