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The Constantines | s/t (Three Gut Records)
From Guelph, Ontario, The Constantines are regarded by Toronto indie label Three Gut ?? and many others ?? as a potentially huge force in the reinvigorated art-punk/math-rock scene. At times on this debut album, it's easy to see why. Very quickly into opener Arizona, we are soon experiencing sheets of downbeat riffage, and an intense, sincere vocal that recalls Joe Strummer ?? and Bruce Springsteen! But it's the Girls Against Boys, Fugazi, Sonic Youth and ...And You Will Know Us As The Porkiest Emo-Mods In Texas dynamics, performed with power and panache, that should attain The Cons (as they are popularly known) the attention in Europe that they currently enjoy at home. There are plenty of quiet/loud bits and teeth-grittingly grinding guitars uniform to this style of rock, but it is the surprises that set singer/guitarist Bry Webb, guitarist Steve Lambke, bassist Dallas Wehrle and drummer Doug MacGregor a couple of paces from the pack. For example, there's the soulful, souped-up Stones swagger of Justice, and the tender acoustic musings of Saint You (as concise a title for a love song as I've ever heard). And there is the measured sleaze of shouty choruses and handclaps over preacherman rantings, and the instrumental complexity of The McKnight Life/Steal This Sound. This is good stuff, but the real thrills are promised when The Cons eventually reach these shores. Boasting a fearsome live reputation, it was the gigs staged in the basement of the house that three of the band share, that launched the scramble for signatures that Three Gut won. Coming soon to a cellar near you!

Tom Sheriff
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002