Song Of The Day

The Rest: An Artfully Unsteady Pocket Orchestra

Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "Walk on Water (Auspicious Beginnings)"
  • Artist: The Rest
  • CD: Everyone All at Once
  • Genre: Rock
The Rest 300

hide captionThe Rest lives up to the latter part of its song title: "Walk on Water (Auspicious Beginnings)."

courtesy of the artist

With seven members and a Canadian address, Ontario's The Rest may have trouble avoiding comparisons to The Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. But unlike its more serious countrymen, this young band always keeps its sense of humor intact. Exhibit A is a prominent press photo, which shows The Rest (plus a dozen friends) in a comic tableau that looks like a still from a Benny Hill sketch. Those other bands wouldn't dare.

But The Rest still makes serious music. Bands this heavily populated sometimes face a tendency to pack on the layers until an album collapses under its own weight. The title of The Rest's recent sophomore album, Everyone All at Once, suggests such an overload, but each track contains plenty of breathing room without sacrificing the lush textures of a large ensemble. Part of it is the band's tendency to expand outward, as in the five-minute stunner "Walk on Water (Auspicious Beginnings)."

Beginning with organ, piano and cello, this pocket orchestra provides a nice bed for singer Adam Bentley's artfully unsteady vocals. All of which builds up to a Pet Sounds-influenced bridge that brims with interlocking percussion, wet reverb and falsetto harmonies. Later explosions and pauses hint at Arcade Fire-esque bombast, but they're not as dramatic. Take, for example, the way Bentley's worried lament — "Oh God, she knows / She knows, she knows, she knows" — comes in response to his partner finding out what detergent he uses. The title's a bit misleading, but the "auspicious beginnings" part sounds about right.

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