Listening to the Polaris Longlist: Shooting Guns

The manifesto can wait, best to just start writing.Born to Deal in Magic: 1952-1976

Every year when the Polaris nominations are revealed, I resolve to listen to every album on the list. Besides the good feeling of being invested in a competition by knowing all the participants, there are always a few great albums that I would never have heard otherwise. In 2011, I dropped the ball entirely and didn’t listen to a single album that wasn’t already in my collection. In hindsight I’ve been able to call that a victory for me in the long run (if I’d been any more invested in the outcome I would have been that much more pissed off about The Suburbs winning).

It’s an easy ball to drop too. The same thing happens every year when the Canada Reads nominations are announced, and my current record for Canada Reads titles was set in 2008 when I read Not Wanted on the Voyage (and then didn’t even listen to the debates). I’m not sure whether I’m just a perennial quitter of challenges or whether 40 albums / 5 books are just too many to listen to / read out of a feeling of obligation.

Regardless, I’m going to give it another shot this year.


Shooting Guns – Born to Deal in Magic: 1952-1976. Inevitably, this band is friends with friends of mine (This is Canada). And since this is Canada, I am obliged to point out that the band is from Saskatoon, and to reflect on the myriad ways in which this album is a portrait and product of Saskatoon. I’ve never been to Saskatoon though so who knows.

This is a great album. It’s always refreshing to see a Canadian band that isn’t defined by their vocalist (in this case by not having one), and instead letting the music breathe without being songified by lyrics and vocal melodies. As a result, I wasn’t very aware of the movement from one song to the next, with a few exceptions (Stay Awake Forever, Black Hand). I don’t mean to say the album is same-y or monotonous though. On the contrary, the riff changes and general flow of the songs avoid the pitfalls of boring instru-metal and post-rock by giving the listener time to settle into the sweet grooves, while not overstaying their welcome. Only one song on the album creeps past six minutes, and it feels justified.

Excellent stoner jams, great for walking around in the sun, reading a book, thinking, zoning, etc.  I dunno what the chances are of this one making the shortlist, but I for one would be happy to see it there.

Further Reading:


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