The songs on Mark Cantin’s self-titled EP Mark Cantin need to be in an indie movie like, last year. They are a Blitzkrieg of sensible, though sometimes even operatic, folk pop that sounds like staying up late on summer and eating ice cream. Los Angeles-based but Massachusetts-born Mark Cantin unabashedly marches to the beat of Belle and Sebastian's drummer. Each song has that twee sound, like guitar playing that can convey emotions as different as fear and happiness (and in the same song!), cautious but still mischievous instrumentation, and the bucolic musical touches that shade this kind of music.
The rallying "Garage Sale," which begins the album like a TV show about sunny, retro growing-up situations. Optimistic ukulele, or at least the plucking sounds like a ukulele with some light percussion until storm cloud electric guitar overtakes the acoustic bits of the song. I would've been content with this sort of form had the EP chosen to take it all the way through. As it is, each song has a very distinct style of music going on. The acoustic, single-room occupancy themes of "I Wanted to Stay" gives way to the sunny baroqueness of "I Want it Now." The gentle but defiant rock of "Escape From Yesterday” precedes the finale “Ashtrays," which begins despondently and ends dizzying, mirroring "Garage Sale" and bringing the album full circle.
Mark Cantin's voice is versatile, which means he can either sound dreary or sexy as hell. He's not necessarily a unique vocalist, but when he speaks, you listen, which is probably the only way I could get through a line like, "All these years I've built a home with you."These songs need to be in an indie movie not just because of how they sound, almost facetiously melancholy, but convincingly so, but because this is what indie is about: A daytime video editor who casually records a group of great songs.
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