Vitaminsforyou
I’m Sorry For Ever and For Always
2003
B+



my wife hates electronic music. She usually makes me turn it off, citing the glitchy beats and stuttering, false-start effects. She says it leads to the cat puking on the rug. When I put on Vitaminsforyou’s I’m Sorry For Ever and For Always the other day, I waited. Fifteen minutes passed and, finally, I wondered what had happened to her usual adamant opposition. I had to pry it out of her. “What do you think of this?” “I like it.” That was it; that was all she would allow. Yet, in this near-silent acceptance so far from approbation and yet damn near gushing for her, there lies a sense of the appeal of this album.

Vitaminsforyou is principally Montreal-by-way-of-Winnipeg electronic artist Bryce Kushnier. On I’m Sorry For Ever and For Always, Kushnier jumps oh-so-drunkenly between the foreground and the background of your thoughts, cutting away from musical preludes and quiet, andante movements into insistent beats and single vocal phrases that repeat themselves until they form a golden, latter-day hymn. The tempo swoons schizophrenically, and the humming tones and static pings that often introduce these songs hover in the air just long enough to introduce their crunchy beats and vocal refrains.

Instead of pulling his tracks taut with simple hooks and phrases, and retreading the work of the Notwist or the Postal Service, VFY waits for his ‘songs’ to grow almost as though he’s not watching, like he’s turned his back and allowed them to morph into small, glistening symphonic gems with a father-knows-best smirk on his face. This asleep-at-the-wheel sense of mastery speaks well for Vitaminsforyou, and the fact that you become almost restless during certain phases of these songs, only to be jarred footloose and fancy-free at the drop of a bass tone, speaks to its complexity.

With the faint ringing and gliding tones that open “It’s Only Snow=It’s only Sunshine,” VFY sets the daybreak mood immediately. Static gurgles along its spine with tocking bells until Kushnier’s quiet voice slides up its back. The crisp backbeat and twinkling xylophones remind one of a child’s playroom, with toys scattered and overturned, and the sun building shadows in their midst. “Ecologie + Histoire pt. 4” advances on this virtuous candor with pings of static and bouncing tones for four minutes before the same repeated phrase flows on a beat carved from the inside-out.

When the final track arrives, the album’s playful, jelly-bowled direction is distilled into one track. The ringing bell and dishwashing static set the scene as a roadside diner, where as the plates are wiped clean and the new customers slide into their cracked-leather booths, a mechanical hum slowly drives out the silence. Patience and acceptance are not rewarded as much as expected. The album loses itself for a moment in this monotonous field recording, but at the instant you awaken to its length and move to skip the track and thus end the album, Kushnier begins a traveler’s lullaby. He sing-speaks over a slow, broken metronomic beat and lustrous bells, closing the album in a narcotic gleam.

With this success, Vitaminsforyou has plopped his name down next to a growing number of stunning Canadian artists, many of whom are stoking the electronic embers for renewed warmth. From Manitoba and the Russian Futurists to Stars and Broken Social Scene, Canada continues to draw our ears northward. Without getting all David Foster Wallace here, should we count 2004 up already as the Year of Molson? Shit, the Minneapolis air has hardened to a sharp fool’s toil already; maybe it’s time to make the move. I’ll play this album when I ask my wife.
Reviewed by: Derek Miller
Reviewed on: 2004-01-16
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