In some respects, describing No Perfect Wave in words is a similarly frustrating experience to penning a musical score to describe a poem — while the mediums may compliment each other, it seems a convoluted way of passing on ideas to one’s audience. No Perfect Wave, the third album in as many years by Vancouver’s C.Diab, is a record that forgives its listener with its opening note. Beyond an obvious structure and template lifted from his past two releases, Beacons and Interludes, there is no simple way to relate the beauty and wisdom contained within this latest release without recounting the vast personal journeys and intimate memories that No Perfect Wave seems to so closely soundtrack.
The instrument of choice here remains the same: an acoustic guitar, played with a cello bow, and wrung through guitar effects, pedals, and amplifiers until rendered indistinct. Here, sonorous drones take a more prominent position in Diab’s compositions, while elsewhere he experiments with a drastically reduced and archaically menacing progression (“Silent, Still”). Recorded by Recital’s Ian William Craig, reel-to-reel tape mangling bends and twists some songs (“Lying in The Back of The Car on Highway One”) while remaining complacent and out-of-the-way on others.
No Perfect Wave represents, more than ever, the honing of C.Diab’s craft. His emotionally devastating drones and compositions are as haunting as they are nostalgic and noteworthy. More than almost any other musical output today, No Perfect Wave is the most pure example of a muse desperate to escape its host, and the result captured to tape is nothing short of extraordinary.