Under Review


The Lapse

On-Going Podcast Series

Hailey Mah

The Lapse is a local production that is independent to the core, entirely facilitated by host Kyle Gest. In his three years of making The Lapse, he has managed to amass a passionate following of fans who fund and support the show. Each episode focuses on one guest, who is often an avid listener of the podcast, thus creating a unique two-way relationship between creator and audience. As each episode progresses, the featured guest slowly unravels their tale with an unprecedented level of intimacy.

Episodes are slim, however, with runtimes rarely exceeding 30 minutes. As somebody who often listens to podcasts two or three times that length, I was pleasantly surprised at how much could be explored in such a short time. The unique personality and voice of each guest is given room to shine as they propel the listener through their story. Occasionally, Gest will chime in to transition between vignettes, hammer a point home, or help re-enact scenes of dialogue. Some added foley sound effects help create a sensory atmosphere around each scene, providing listeners with a feeling of total immersion.

The remarkable thing about the stories shared on The Lapse is that they exist amid the everyday. Slices of reflection are revealed as the story is told in a way that feels natural and conversational. For example, in “Skinny White Oprah” (Episode 51), Gest shares his own experience of participating in a reality T.V. show. His humourous experience evolves into revelations on how promises of fame or power bring us to act in ways we would never expect, and how the advice we give is often a projection of our own insecurities.

The Lapse exemplifies how collaborative storytelling can be used to create a highly intimate listening experience. You will start an episode looking forward to hearing an interesting story, but you will stay for the startlingly profound and personal experience of stepping into somebody else’s shoes.

something in the water

Eirik Hutchinson

Something In The Water

Hannah Toms

On his Facebook page, Eirik Hutchinson describes his favourite pastime as “being drunk at petting zoos” and his musical style as “Tabasco Muppet Rock.” Therefore, this singer-songwriter’s social media presence encapsulates perfectly the lighthearted and easygoing vibe of his first solo release, a surf / jangle pop miniLP entitled Something In The Water.  

Reminiscent of ‘60s psychedelia and pop rock, Something In The Water features beachy drum beats, reverb driven rhythm guitar, jangly, melodic leads, and soothing retro vocals. The album opens with its title track, whose wacky synth melodies and cheerfully nuanced lyrics set the upbeat and nonchalant tone of this release. At one point during “Something In The Water,” Hutchinson crones about the untroubled days of summer, “Smoking my cares away,” a phrase that makes you question exactly what Hutchinson is smoking and what exactly he wishes to smoke away.

Building on this laid-back atmosphere, the album’s second track, “One Night,” recounts a summer fling over an abundant synth line that gives the song a psychedelic edge. Similarly, the off-kilter “Scooby” describes the pains of a hangover, complete with the sound of a can opening and double layered vocals that are slightly out of unison. It is also on this track that Hutchinson introduces variety in the form of distorted, almost grungy lead guitar. On both “Scooby” and the final track, “Turn Me On,” the level of distortion is sufficient for an interesting juxtaposition of styles without reducing the song’s listenability. However, during “On The Run,” the distortion exceeds that level, clashing with the song’s cheerful, beachy sound.

Amongst these tales of hangovers and summer flings are the occasional lyrical misstep. One significant example of this is found in the lyrics of “Turn Me On,” where Hutchinson refers to a “Fame whore / Just looking for a big score***.” To some, this line could be justified by its consistency with the carefree colloquialism of Something In The Water, but a staunch feminist like myself questions why Hutchinson chose such demeaning and antiquated language.

Throughout this review I have resisted comparing Hutchinson to the stylistically similar Best Coast and Alvvays, as the attention that jangle pop has regained recently seems to be uniquely concentrated on the latter. After listening to Hutchinson’s release, one wonders why those like Best Coast receive all the acclaim. Despite its imperfections, Something In The Water proves an enjoyable, interesting, and engaging first release.

***In the print edition of this review, these lyrics were misquoted. They read “Fame whore / Just looking for a big score” not “Little big whore / Looking for her big score.” This misprint has since been corrected.