When Toronto’s Do Make Say Think emerged over a decade ago, they came over as an enjoyable but slightly generic example of the Canadian post rock scene of the time, seemingly doomed to live in the shadow of Montreal’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor, before fading away when the post rock bubble burst. In the event, things have turned out very differently and as G!YBE themselves seem to have faded away into their “indefinite hiatus”, DMST have developed by leaps and bounds, creating ever more accomplished and engaging records, Other Truths being their sixth to date. The fact that the group have named each of the four expansive tracks (varying in length between 8 and 13 minutes) on the record after the four words of their name suggests that they may well consider this to be their definitive work.
Opening track “Do” begins with an uncharacteristically perky guitar figure before building into a jubilant upbeat swirl of chiming guitars, purposeful drumming and soaring wordless vocals with a determined momentum that captures the action of the title perfectly. In contrast to previous albums, vocals (courtesy of guest singers Akron/Family and Lullabye Arkestra) appear throughout, but always as texture rather than a focus, blending with the marvellously grainy and unpolished instrumental timbres to create a very organic but highly architectural music. Rigorous care and planning is evident in the arrangements, but at no times is the material overworked into mere decoration, and there’s an over-riding sense of joy to the album, a quality not generally associated with an area of music which can often appear affected and cerebral.
Melodies wind their way in and around intricate frameworks, building into huge brass powered slabs of sound on “Make” and “Say” before retreating into the autumnal introspection of “Think” ‘s delicate guitar interplay. The sound on Other Truths is warm and natural throughout, capturing a live group playing together without tricks and treatments. It’s refreshing to hear “traditionally” made music that sounds this vibrant and that looks forward rather than back. All in all, Other Truths may well be the best release that Constellation have put out since Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! way back at the start of the century.