Anyone remember that TV advert for Canada from the 1980s – a succession of colourful images, including a delicious pink donut, downtown T.O. and soaring mountain peaks, displaying the beauty, vitality and vibrancy of the country? It made me want to visit. Wild horses wouldn’t drag me there now – that glorious, vast expanse now the sine qua non of smugness and condescension. It has become a terminally precious country and we should withdraw our ambassador, or invade (that being the fashion). Weather Station, led by the fabulously irritating Tamara Lindeman, were once okayish indie folkies who have now become pretentious, half-assed purveyors of somnambulant fake jazz, like the very worst of Joni Mitchell without the melodies or ability. They also lecture and harangue you – the last album, Ignorance, was entirely about climate change. In a sense, then, they are Canada made flesh and… well, not quite blood, maybe luke-warm water, or vomit inadequately reheated in a microwave.
The songs on their sixth album are funereal, narcissistic and fabulously boring. It is pointless to cite them individually because they are essentially all the same. Inchoate melodies built around supposedly plangent piano chords diminished so far they have long since ceased to exist, with Lindeman keening her perpetually earnest and flatulent tripe on top and the occasional appearance of a saxophone. They make the Cowboy Junkies seem interesting. It is background music for people devoid of everything that constitutes life. So to clear my mind I put on Bachman- Turner Overdrive. A different, better, Canada.
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