The Vulcan Dub Squad, The New Designers

This is not a concept album–this is a thematic album. (And, for the record, thematic albums are almost always better than concept albums: put The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust up against a true concept album like Styx’s Kilroy was Here and you will have no choice but to concur.) This is an attempt to revisit Expo 67 in musical form. Like Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67 building, this album is a seemingly incoherent stacking of discrete elements that forms, in actuality, a complex manifold whose beauty cannot be encompassed by a single gaze but only by a walk through the rectilinear chiaroscuro of its sunlit and shadowed walls. That said, I still think the Avro Arrow would have been an expensive boondoggle so there is no need for anyone to have written the song “Die! Dief, Die!” But Canadian nationalism is what it is and this album is to be valued for its postmodern take on the moment of Canada’s self-regarding entry into its (belated) modernity. (Erik Weissengruber)

CD, www.thevulcandubsquad.com

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