The cannanes - insound tour support series no. 15

The No. 1 spookiest piece was Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962) in "Grimaces in Art," a futurist poster from a 1913 number of the journal Teatr v Karrikaturakh. She posed in a peasant's headdress, with her face painted so violently that the woman then in her early 30s looked 80 -- a comment, perhaps, on how old Russian peasant women in their 30s actually looked. But the picture was less historical than primeval: Goncharova's cheeks, chin and forehead were scored with heavy black lines, cuneiforms, signs, unreadable Paleolithic cave symbols or proto-writing. What you see, along with the heroic shout of modernism, are wrinkles so deep you could stick your fingers in them, unless you see the marks of badly healed scars cutting down and across the face so brutally you can almost feel the knife that would have put them there.

Side B finds the band in a more experimental mood, with "Molecule" showcasing Frances Gibson's best breathy Sally Timms impression, incanting "This is the day the glaciers finally burn" over music that alternates between noirish dream and metallic sheen, while "Tiny Compartment" is a whooshy, half-whispered letter to a pilot/airline traveler/astronaut. In the album's most intriguing song, the closing "Zone", the band sounds like, of all things, the faux-club/lounge you'd hear in an H&M dressing room. It's nothing short of mesmerizing. Who knows when we'll hear from the Cannanes again, but this (cough) small batch of tunes should help tide over Antipodean indie pop fans.
[Reviewed by Stephen Haag for 3 April 2013 ]

Cardigan-owners rejoice! Long-running indie-pop combo the Cannanes have re-turned with "Bumper," the first taste of their first major release since 2002's Trouble Seemed So Far Away. The Small Batch EP, due March 19, is helmed by veteran members Fran Gibson and Stephen O'Neil; and while the production quality seems slightly more polished, the earnest melodicism remains. "Is it worth another try? / My friends don't think so," Gibson lilts shyly, between lively strums, bouncy drum machines, horns, and even a smattering of lounge-y synths. As another world-famous oracle once sagely opined, there is no "try", "Bumper" exists.
[Reviewed by Marc Hogan on January 9, 2013]

Cannanes, Small Batch [EP] , (/Lamingtone, 2013)
To call the Cannanes veterans of the indie world would be putting it lightly; when they first hit the scene with their indie-pop songs, of which Kurt Cobain would eventually become a fan, Ronald Reagan was serving his first presidential term. Now nearly 30 years later, the Australian duo is still finding ways to create fresh music. Their latest release is an EP called Small Batch , a six-song compilation that ranges from mellow and calm to jazzy and upbeat. After an 11-year hiatus, the Cannanes have returned and showed us why they deserve to be regarded as true innovators of indie pop.

The opening song, “Bumper,” is as radiant as the sun on a hot August day. The jaunty strumming of the acoustic guitar is mixed with muted horns that mesh with Fran Gibson’s timid lyrics: “Is It worth another try? Even you don’t think so.” The last minute is filled with the soft shake of a tambourine and light drum hits that ease the song to a blissful finish.

The song that follows is called “Crawler,” and rightly so. The track is a slow and weary one that leisurely works its way up and down your body as Gibson’s ethereal voice drifts in and out. The spacey electronic percussion unwinds slowly and lets your mind enter into a peaceful zone. As the song ends, you’re snapped back to reality that you’ve already ventured nearly halfway through the EP.

What makes the Cannanes so special is their versatility. Not many bands last for over a decade, and the ones who do are inevitably ascribed a label. The Cannanes offset their label by featuring songs like “Molecule” and “Zone” amongst their guitar-filled indie-pop songs. These tracks blend aspects from hip-hop and jazz with their hazy electronic pop. “Molecule” features a slow, heavy, booming bass that creeps up on you throughout the song before finally dropping and creating a new texture on the cozy album.

The horns cry out loudly to introduce the closing song on the EP. “Zone” starts off slowly and then is suddenly interjected with percussion that you can imagine a b-boy getting down to. The eerie voice utters, “You’re confusing me.” But there is little to be confused about on this put-together EP. The band gives us a “small batch” of what we’ve been missing out on for the last decade. Producing a short but sweet assortment of engaging songs is exactly what the Cannanes needed to mark their return.
[Reviewed By Trevor Smith for CMJ 20th March 2013]

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