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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v5n47 (11/22/2006) » Section: Left of the Dial

Jason Collett: Idols of Exile

With its massive, ever-shifting lineup, Canadian indie rock colossus Broken Social Scene has not only taken on a life their of their own as a one of the most influential bands making records but shone a light on some of the True North’s finest talent. Part of the spark is that BSS’ membership is a multifaceted pool of musician artists who seem to have this innate, organic sense to create. The band is never a full-time job either. The members have fulfilling musical lives outside of the band. That leads me to the latest from Jason Collett. This is Collett’s first record since the plaintive troubadour musings Motor Hotel Love Songs as well as the first since BSS found wide, international success. While Broken Social Scene fixtures appear across Idols, including central figures Kevin Drew and Brendan Caning as well as Emily Haines, Amy Millan and Feist, this is all about Collett. As a solo, Collett tends to eschew the BSS “pile it on” style of orch-pop for a simplified, laid-back roots approach to songs. That’s not to say that Idols shrugs off great arrangements. The bright pop of “I’ll Bring the Sun” finds mid-ground between Beach Boys and BSS, while “Tinsel and Sawdust” is a visceral, unrefined bit of beauty. Collett ultimately wins because he has that certain, hard-to-define singer/songwriter deftness and can deliver half-smiling self-loathing, as in the country rock of “Pink Night.”

Oasis: Stop the Clocks

It’s been over a decade since sparring Manchester brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher and their band burst into the mass consciousness. As the self-proclaimed “greatest band in the world,” Oasis did almost enough to make that tag the truth with a successive international chart hits, sold-out soccer fields and—perhaps most importantly—more than enough headline-grabbing swagger and bravado. Finally they’ve put together the obligatory “best of” album. The success in this tight, two-disc set is that even beyond the obvious supernova hits like “Wonderwall” and “Live Forever,” there’s a lot of meat here. Oasis overlord Noel picked the tracks and shrugged off a number of obvious choices from the band’s stash of singles, replacing them here with superior B-sides. That means Stop the Clocks really does represent the best of Oasis, with the breezy, pastoral “Half the World Away” and the brash and brotherly rock-and-roll sparring of “Acquiesce.” The set is weighted in favor of Oasis’ first three years, and while some might say the quality of Oasis’ output has been on a downward trajectory in the last few years, you need look no further than a pair from the band’s most recent album—the stadium stomp of “Lyla” alongside the Ray Davies-ish “The Importance of Being Idle”—to find they’ve lost little of their magic. As if Stop the Clocks weren’t already overflowing with enough Beatlisms to cram a yellow submarine, with so much of Oasis’ output owing grand debt to the Fabs, the band enlisted famed pop artist Peter Blake to design the cover art.

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