time is money

Eleni mandell - country for true lovers

Montreal and Edmonton be damned. The international indie intelligentsia still has enough time for tired, old Toronto to have lately stumbled into a couple of the local scene's more arcane and/or stoned quarters. Rock Plaza Central's stock has been rising – well, as much as the stock of a knowingly cryptic avant-folk outfit contemplating Armageddon from the perspective of artificially intelligent robo-horses (I think) could rise during the weeks since last year's Are We Not Horses album crowned its glowing, outta-nowhere praise from the Pitchfork Media massive. Despite one infamous Justin Timberlake cover to its credit, Rock Plaza Central – an unfixed, improv-inclined crew led by local author and yelper/songwriter Chris Eaton – is as pop-defiant as freak "breakouts" get. Yet as Are We Not Horses expands upon the dilapidated surrealism of "I Am an Excellent Steel Horse," it begins to exert the same tune-to-conceit ratio that has granted similar experiments in deconstructive/reconstructive "roots" music by the likes of Royal City, Fembots and Neutral Milk Hotel their staying power. It's not the easiest disc to get through on first approach. But when the scattered melodies and rustic instrumentation coalesce firmly into the uplifting couplet of "When We Go, How We Go (Part II)" and "We've Got a Lot to be Glad For" at album's end, the immediate impulse is to go back to the beginning with new eyes. And suddenly it all makes sense.

Eleni Mandell - Country For True LoversEleni Mandell - Country For True LoversEleni Mandell - Country For True LoversEleni Mandell - Country For True Lovers