Various Artists, We Are More

An experiment in national branding, this CD was produced by the Canadian Tourist Commission and features some of Canada’s major pop artists. Does it tell us anything about indie culture in this country? Only in some limited–but significant–respects. The branding strategy promotes a Canada where you can purchase goods from “offbeat bohemian to ultra chic.” Now the spoken-word paean to Canada, Shane Koyczan’s The Short Story Long qualifies as the former, but does Sarah McLachlan’s Fallen really count as the latter? I actually like the Matt Dusk number All About Me. It’s like Sinatra blaring out a Cahn/Van Heusen tune in a pop-R&B remix (what with the plonking metronomic piano riff and digital biff-bam-boom drum machine) and Dusk manages to pull off a convincing bit of machismo melting into regret that would make Sinatra proud. But “ultra chic”? In an age when geriatric actor Michael Caine, a holdover from the shagadelic ’60’s, is releasing chill-out and trance compilations, we should credit the international tourist set with a sense of the chic and the bohemian that won’t be satisfied with middle-of-the-road commercial pop tunes. More Manitoban death metal and glitchcore-meets-Inuktuk dub poetry, I say. (EW)

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