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Album Review: Years – Years

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Ohad Benchetrit, of Do Make Say Think, has taken the idea of a guitarist’s solo album to new worlds with his ambitious project, Years. The Canadian’s self-titled debut breaks apart the traditional “guitar hero”-like solo records that seem to showcase only what we already know, and instead transforms it into something entirely different, showing us a new side of his experimental post-rock. It’s noteworthy to mention Benchetrit has been around the Canadian indie rock scene for sometime now, contributing to Broken Social Scene and Feist, to name a few. If they are on Arts & Crafts, chances are the guy has worked with them.

While his classical methods remain strong throughout, what he does with them is, at times, mind blowing. “Are You Unloved” and “Hey Cancer…Fuck You” take his old school picking and transforms it into looped beats before drowning it out with crashing drums and exploding horns, before returning to the looping and cutting of before. Each song carries this style of movement, taking your senses on a ride of sorts and exposing the artist’s inner person. The track names clue one in on how personal the record is, and with the simple organs of “September 5. October 21 2007”, the songs become dream-like, layering scripts for his biography that is better experienced than spoken.

That experience is what this record is all about. For fans of his day job, we already knew of these talents, but now they are expanded, adding story telling to his repertoire. The music no longer becomes about his guitar, but about his ability to see where they could all go, listening past the skillful picking. Already being a respected member of the northern experimental rock community, it is not unusual to hear frenzied drums and slight oddities among the slower, more sentimental ventures. An example of this is heard in ”A Thousand Times A Day”, which also features the record’s only vocals, as he sings, “don’t be sad . . . stay true”, to a lazy reverberating slide. “The Assassination of Dow Jones” provides one of the more classically trained tracks, incorporating a slide-steel to the mix for an extra twang. The song spirals deeper as if telling the story of our current economic situation, building in intensity until the final crash – a little ominous if you ask me.

Few of this year’s records have perked my ears so much. Years manages to excite every indie rock fantasy I have. It is a record worth a thousand words, even though none are actually spoken. Usually these kinds of albums tend to drag on as you think to yourself, “I get it, you’re good, but move on already”, but not with Years. The man goes places with his songs telling what could be his life story or, with enough imagination, yours.

Check Out:
“Are You Unloved?”

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