Memphis - A Little Place In The Wilderness
Torquil Campbell and Chris Dumont were first in a band together in the 1990s; since then, Campbell has become part of two highly successful and respected Canadian alternative bands (Stars and Broken Social Scene), and Campbell (vocalist) and Dumont (producer and guitarist) have now reunited to form Memphis.
A Little Place In The Wilderness is best described as an individual exploration of a collective concept: Campbell writes about dreams - their value, their futility, the role they play as part of the human experience. Not coincidentally, the music reflects this concept, tending to be atmospheric, sparse with swells toward richness, and with Campbell relying on a half-whispered/half-sung vocal delivery. This delivery doesn't always showcase the true strength of these melodies, and the songs don't always pack the initial punch that Stars do. But the more minimalist songs achieve depth through simplicity and can be beautifully fragile, while the richer songs are full of instrumental subtlety (especially the use of horns) that brings the lyrical concepts to life – the attention to detail of Dumont's production is evident.
Songs such as 'I Dreamed We Fell Apart,' performed only on guitar and pedal steel, work beautifully in their sparseness, while 'Incredibly Drunk On Whiskey' provides the record's most lighthearted pop moment. This is certainly a pop record, and songs such as the upbeat 'I'll Do Whatever You Want' are very reminiscent of Stars minus Amy Millan. The major weakness of this record is the lack of left-field song structures and musicianship, possessed in spades by Campbell's other projects. These songs, also, aren't likely to be as impacting live; this is more of an alone-before-going-to-sleep record. It is to Memphis' credit, though, that the songs serve the concept well, with the whole being more than the sum of the parts, and that the record sounds better with each listen.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.