A recent trip to Montreal brought me into contact with a fantastic band with a grand name – Give Me Something Beautiful. Currently in the studio recording their first full length, Give Me Something Beautiful have a selection of EPs and a live recording available on their website.
The long, and slightly unwieldy, band name befits the uncompromising sound that Matthew Hills, Tyler Krebs, and Raphaël Pellerin have spent the past year moulding into their own – crushing drums, shrieking Jeff Buckley live at Sin-e vocals, and ‘cathartic rhythms’ all mix to give you something . . . er, pulchritudinous.
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It is the perceived freedom to Give Me Something Beautiful that I enjoy – are the lyrics built around the music, or is the music carrying Hills’ lyrics to their ultimate conclusion? Either way, the result is a raw, almost jam-style, sound that carries through their available music.
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Montreal has had its fair share of publicity in recent years, what with Arcade Fire finding success with Quebec as their home base, and it would be daft of me not to tip my hat to it. Music aside, Montreal is a myriad of visual distractions – rivers, bridges, canals, an old town, a predominantly French speaking quarter, a few large universities, but most importantly (to me), a large forested mountain close to downtown. The fusion of many different types of physical environments generates a joy for being outside. To aide the understanding of the city, my Canadian friend Kevin Smith, of Stevesmittens.com, once described what Montreal meant to him:
“Growing up in Toronto, Montreal always held a certain nameless allure for me. Toronto felt like the dorky younger brother, always wanting to tag along, and Montreal would grudgingly put up with it from time to time, as long as there were no cute girls coming. But it wasn’t until I moved to Montreal for a bit–and perhaps even then not till after I’d left again–that I realized what the name of that allure was. And it was self-confidence. Toronto seems to be the kind of place that needs to define itself in terms of others. Canada’s New York. Or Chicago. Or Hollywood North. Or Cannes. Whatever. I’ve never heard anybody make comparisons like that to Montreal–Montreal is itself, defines itself as that, and lets people take it or leave it. And inevitably they take it–they keep coming back, because no city can party like Montreal and everybody aged 18-20 from the North Eastern US knows it. And if all of that self-aware uniqueness could be distilled into a single image, it would without a doubt be a black wrought iron spiral staircase–the kind you see outside of every lowrise apartment building, the kind that must be a bitch to carry your groceries up when it’s -25 and there’s piles of snow and ice, that kind of staircase–that is Montreal.”
It makes perfect sense that Give Me Something Beautiful should reside in Montreal, for they manage to balance confidence, diversity and beauty to great effect. Throw in Hills’ subtly raunchy lyrics and you have yourself a party.
Take a moment to enjoy their live EP – produced especially to help fund their full-length debut. I am really looking forward to hearing it.
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