The Most Serene Republic, named after Venice's tag of the same in the renaissance, have released a debut album which is seared with musical maturity well beyond their years.


A Canadian six-piece formed as a high school outfit, The Most Serene Republic have been showered in praise and expectation from music critic heavies, so it is refreshing to realise from time to time that the praise is warranted. The Most Serene Republic's debut LP Underwater Cinematographer is one of these. Although music fascists and record companies alike will categorise the CD as ‘indie' the album, in both structure and content, transcends music genre boundaries. This album is rare in that there are no overt musical influences (take note Wolfmother) and even if the music is not to your taste, it is impressive to see such genuinely original music.


Perhaps that the album was produced by a group called ‘Arts and Crafts' is telling – the album seems in many senses like a musical impressionist in otherwise baroque times, where people will notice the artistic differences, even if they hate them.


There is very little to dislike about Underwater Cinematographer though, teaming in Mars Volta-esque composition and a cross over of musical sounds that bands such as Air through to Sonic Youth would use.


The album, despite the telltale sign that 6 of the 11 songs have more than 6 words in them, escapes pretensions with cleverly used keyboards, intelligent lyrics and pleasant vocals.


Underwater Cinematographer is arty but accessible, relaxing but poignant and cleverly but not overly produced. The bands press release claims that some songs were recorded on highways, campsites and a train station.


The most outstanding songs on the album are (Oh) God, In the middle of downtown traffic and, in shorthand, The Protagonist.


I would hardly be the first music critic to say that this band will be the next big thing, the next Sonic Youth perhaps, but ‘Underwater Cinematographer' is certainly a promising step in that direction. 9/10

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