steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The XVIII Century Greats

"Pardon Our Appearance" CD

Proforma Records

Genres: indie rock, indie pop

band website

Sep 16 - 22 2002

My friend once expressed to me that he despises the current style of "talk-rock".  You know, it's the music where the singer sounds as if he's half-singing and half-talking at the same time. While I never found it that annoying, my friend seemed to really dislike the stuff, as if it wasn't real music just because the vocalist doesn't sound as if he or she is singing. That said, he would absolutely hate this album. The XVIII Century Greats (that's eighteen for those who don't want to figure it out) are like the kings of talk-rock.

Nonetheless, Pardon Our Appearance is a very enjoyable album. The music itself is pretty catchy, but what really makes this album are the lyrics, which are both insightful and humourous. For example, "L.A.V" (or "Last American Virgin", an obscure film reference) tells the story of a celibate girl who feels lonely and isolated, as if she's the last American virgin ("You said you were saving yourself for marriage/You said you were saving yourself for Jesus/And then the tears came down like a broken water main/Until a better day I'll probably remain the last American virgin"). Meanwhile, "The Artifact" is an off-beat love song that deals with a man who is overly obsessed with his ex-girlfriend; he finds "artifacts" of hers and keeps them as keepsakes (he keeps her hairs from her brush in ziplock bags, for example). It remains funny, even though you feel sympathetic to the poor guy.

Judging by this album, The XVIII Century Greats are three very intelligent people. They sing/talk about life's little subtleties, except in a blatant and confronting way. They've got a great sense of humour, and their music is a bit like a less punk-y Atom and his Package. I would love to just sit one of them down and engage in a long conversation - but then again, who wouldn't want to talk to the creators of such an intellectual and thoughtful album?


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 37 min 52 sec; 12 tracks; distributed by the band; released 2001]