Nov 5, 2003 at 12:00 am
If you’ve logged quality time listening to Fugazi, Girls Against Boys, Slint or Six Finger Satellite, you’re likely to dig this new disc by Toronto’s Constantines.

Lyrically intelligent, well-played and sometimes musically inventive, about half the record is reminiscent of the abundance of bands in the late ’80s/early ’90s that traded in this kind of stuff. Fans of Crime, ? & the Mysterians or the Television Personalities ought to look elsewhere for kicks.

Opening song "National Hum" is based around a monolithic 2-chord organ/guitar riff that is needlessly broken up by an arbitrary time change. It’s still quite listenable but would have been better served by focusing on the repetitive progression to induce mania or hypnosis. "Goodbye Baby & Amen" is better, an understated track built upon a 90-second-long electric-piano opening that maintains the mood for about four minutes. "On To You" is catchy in an Interpol way. "Tank Commander (Hung Up In A Warehouse Town)" has an off-kilter yet satisfying clipped chord progression somewhere between Devo and Del Shannon.

The vocal style manages to sound like both Can and Paul Westerberg at different times and the band usually avoids overplaying and needless heaviness. Not a bad album, the next one could be great if they weed out the ’89-to-’94 influences. Heath Heemsbergen