I’ve had a couple of songs by Old Canes for a very long time now, and enjoy them immensely whenever I listen to them. It seems somehow ridiculous then that I’ve managed to avoid writing about them, or even buying the acclaimed album that the tracks I have come from, Feral Harmonic. Well, I’m rectifying at least one of those problems now, because, from what I can hear, Old Canes are simply fantastic.
‘Little Bird Courage’ possesses the ramshackle, galloping quality of Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘Holland, 1945’, all random drum hits and an absolutely frantic brass section as singer Christopher Crisci bellows like a preacher. The song never lets up, shifting from one anthemic crash to the next, becoming one of the least cheesy ‘uplifting’ songs I’ve ever heard in the process. ‘Trust’ on the other hand, begins in a more sombre, if not quieter, mode. This time, Crisci growls like Mark Oliver Everett at his darkest, and the band take a more considered approach, tempering the drums that dominate the last song with furiously strummed guitar.
Old Canes can muster an incredible amount of noise and with that the feeling of a warlike charge, not in an angry sense, but of unity in the face of adversity. This could be classed as folk music in a broad sense, but it certainly doesn’t fit into the currently fashionable mould of plaintive singers with a banjo and problems – this is music to tackle those problems to, and perhaps that’s why it’s so exciting.