Keith Canisius: This Time It's Our High

Keith Canisius serves up a wondrous sugar rush of sound on his third full-length release This Time It's Our High. On the fifty-minute recording, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-born and Copenhagen, Denmark resident (also known as the guitarist-vocalist-songwriter who teamed up with singer Tine Louise in the Rumskib project) presents nine masterful firestorms supercharged with shiny vocal harmonies, electric guitars, synthesizers, and drums; the album is performed entirely by Canisius except for violin contributions by Signe Ane Anderson—though her playing is only truly audible during the closing moments of “Gentle Guys” after all of the other instruments have fallen away. Informed by a fine-tuned pop sensibility, Canisius's delirious swirl of vocal melodies and instruments is wall-of-sound loud, for sure, but also free of abrasion. While there are undeniable elements of shoegaze, psychedelia, and dreampop present, Canisius's material ends up drawing from all such styles without professing allegiance to one over another. Still, My Bloody Valentine and M83 are obvious reference points but—to Canisius's credit—they're not entirely off the mark either. The blaze of interweaving melodies that courses through “Kill Your Systems for Earth” creates an effect that's as surreal as it is Dionysian, and in a perfect world, the loping “The Beach House” would be tearing its way up the singles chart at this moment, effortlessly elbowing aside its lame competition. The tempo might be slowed down for the title song, but “This Time It's Our High” ends up being as dizzying as any of the other eight songs, especially when the electric guitars swell into an inferno at the song's halfway mark. Though it hardly needs be said: for best results, play This Time It's Our High at maximum volume.

November 2010