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Constantines | Shine A Light (Three Gut)
Quotes on press releases are usually to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt. You know how it goes, right? Usually when a quote reads "Glorious... a true delight", you can bet the original review read something like "A glorious disaster â?? this makes an afternoon with the Cheeky Girls seem like a true delight". Or something; the point is that you get the point, the point being that press quotes are often bullshit. So what am I to think when I find that Magnet magazine has apparently called the Constantines (I can add the 'the' because the press release does, so nah) "The antidote to every boring rock record this year"? Do I disregard it, or give it a chance? Fortunately I chose the latter option, and boy was I rewarded. Y'see, the Constantines are going to be HUGE. This record may be on the relatively small Three Gut Records in Canada, but it's been picked up by Sub Pop for a US and European release, and what with it being so good, its success is all but assured. How is it so good exactly? Well, there's the opener, National Hum, which rips through your speakers with a Hüsker Dü sense of urgency, coupled to vocals pitched between Strummer and Springsteen. Then there's Insectivorn and On To You, two great power-pop (kind of) numbers that'll have you mouthing the words on your first listen, they're that catchy. Elsewhere, the quintet echo Sonic Youth duelling with Fugazi for your attention. "It's hard not to surrender," the band claims on Night Time/Anytime (It's Alright), but there's no ground given away cheaply here. The Constantines are doing their own thing, at their own pace, and the world will catch up sooner rather than later, and when it does, BOOM, you'll wonder why you didn't buy into this sooner. So buy now. All this without a Gang of Four influence within earshot? The world is a wondrous place.

Mike Diver
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003