Every time I spin a new Do Make Say Think album there is a moment of fear. Perhaps, I’m not going to fall in love this time as I commonly do with every album they release. But then I listen again and it sinks comfortably under my skin, confirming and continuing the love affair. For years the Toronto post-rock instrumentalists have been creating urgent and tense music that jumps between blasting the skin clean from your body to soaking your weary frame in the healing waters of lucidity. Their seventh release, titled Stubborn Persistent Illusions, continues this trend and it is staggering to me just how beautifully it flows.
“War on Torpor” is a hell of a way to open an album, as it is erratic and manic like a chicken without a head. Truth be told, I was not quite sure how I felt about this song at first, but then again this is my most treasured band and time must be allowed for the music to unfold organically. And good god does this album unfold in such a magnificent way, even after the rabid energy of its opening track.
In contrast, “As Far As the Eye Can See” provides immediate gratification. It will quite likely go down as one of my favourite songs by Do Make Say Think, with its sweet buildup and finger picked guitar inflections that curl the hair on my noggin before a wash of steady chaos straightens it out again. This is their standard attack: delicious guitar tones leading into a twang and tremolo that smacks faintly of country. The gentle sweep of brush on snare and the even gentler thud of kick drum. Horns melt the spine as odd synth steer you into uncertainty. DMST will envelope you in warm gooey sauce and you will nearly fall asleep, only to be jostled into total alertness when the peace finally snaps and a furious din fills your eardrums.
Stubborn Persistent Illusions is yet another foothold for DMST and it seems that their years of hiatus have been kind to them. Having gotten older, some married and now parents, this new album shows maturity and growth. As always I come away with these songs resonating, echoing and rattling my bones. This is what music should do. To make one feel, to make one think, to make one marvel over the beauty of it all. To have songs stuck on repeat in your head for hours at a time has never been more welcome.