Every now and then, you come across a band that blends two styles of music so effortlessly that you wonder why there isn’t a whole genre dedicated to it. Don’t You(,) Mean People?’s newest effort, Who Cares, seems to have done that rather brilliantly with an odd combination of post-rock, and math-rock.
Being a huge fan of post-rock, I was excited to see what this Thunder Bay, Ontario band could bring to the table. I was even more excited to discover how they could incorporate Math-Rock into the mix, a genre that, despite being familiar with, I haven’t been properly exposed to. For those unfamiliar: to my knowledge, Math-Rock is a mostly instrumental type of music that incorporates many tempo changes, as well as some odd, and complex time signatures that sometimes change throughout the course of a single song. In this instance, Who Cares has a certain jazzy, yet ambient style to it, utilising only three main instruments: guitar, bass, and drums. All of which are recorded so cleanly, there doesn’t seem to be a single effect heard. Every song on this record stands out in some way, shape, or form. It’s hard to narrow down what makes this album so special, but some standout moments can be found in the songs “Sugar And Other Everyday Diamonds,” “Predecessor Predecessor,” and “Silver Daze.”
“Sugar And Other Everyday Diamonds” is one of their faster songs. With some acoustic guitars layered under the lead, the chords being played are truly emphasised. The song as a whole properly showcases the drummer’s talent, as well as how tight the band truly is; effortlessly transitioning from a 4/4 time signature to a 6/8 time over and over again, and later to a slow buildup in a much more complex timing. The highlight of the album, however, is the final track. “Silver Daze” is such a treat to the ears, perfectly captivating a rhythmically complex, yet relaxing, ambient, post-rock feel. The last half of the song is where it shines emotionally. A slower tempo, and the incorporation of some other instruments (namely a piano, some strings, and a trumpet), the whole thing builds up to an emotionally and sonically beautiful crescendo. Definitely a solid way to end such a memorable album.
I did have a couple minor issues with this album, however. The main one being that the instruments played were almost too stripped down. I appreciated the nice, clean tone, but there were times where they could have used some push. A good example of this could be heard in the track “Go On.” It starts out with a smooth bass line that has a bit of an indie-rock sound to it, but as soon as the guitar came in, I honestly mistook it for a MIDI signal. I applaud this band for creating a post-rock vibe without the use of effects or synth, but the guitar could have used a little more drive in a few of their songs.
Regardless, as a drummer, it was so much fun for me to count out the odd time signatures that Don’t You(,) Mean People? used throughout this album, and, although they occurred often, they never got tiring, nor predictable. Who Cares is one of the most interestingly beautiful albums I’ve heard in a while. It is the kind of album you can either put on as background music as you’re trying to work, or devote all your attention to,and really appreciate the complexity and emotion that these three musicians created. I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy