By Divine Right's new album is lean and lovely.
By Divine Right has long served as a kind of rite of passage in the Canadian indie rock scene, counting such luminaries as Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), Brian Borcherdt (Holy Fuck), and 2012 Polaris Prize winner Leslie Feist as former members. Long led by silken-voiced frontman José Contreras, the band is still going strong, having recently released its ninth studio album, Organized Accidents, on Toronto label Hand Drawn Dracula. Ever-changing and dynamic, the current lineup includes Geordie Dynes (The Mark Inside) and Alysha Haugen (Sheezer).
With over two decades of aesthetic refinement and keen leadership by Contreras behind it, By Divine Right has unsurprisingly presented a lean, lovely, and exceptionally composed effort in Organized Accidents. There’s not a bit of fat here, and even the most dreamy, psychedelic moments of wandering feel absolutely essential. While warm in tone and often seductively smooth in style, the record remains delightfully unpredictable, with chord progressions and looping structures that just love to trip and pull the rug out from under the listener.
In the second half of the record, the pairing of “Eating the Ghost” and “Tremolodians” is particularly strong. The bouncy piano and breezy vocals of “Eating the Ghost” obscure just a bit of psych-pop creepiness under the sweetness, while the broader, deeper and dreamier “Tremolodians” has both more weight and more playfulness, embodied in quirky lines like, “I’ll wear my toque like it’s a crown.” Throughout Organized Accidents, By Divine Right explores ambient sound spaces with an aesthetic that employs both excess and minimalism by turns, stripping the sound back only to fill it to the brim again. (You can listen to a track from the album, “Zoomies,” by clicking the sample, above.)
By Divine Right will celebrate the release of Organized Accidents with a “homecoming” show at Lee’s Palace on Saturday, August 3rd. Doors are at 9 p.m. and cover is $10. So Young and Tess Parks will also perform.
This post originally listed the date of the By Divine Right show as August 9th. It has been corrected to August 3rd.