Most Serene Republic dazzles with debut

Ben Breier


The Most Serene Republic

Underwater Cinematographer

Arts & Crafts, 2005

Stater rating (out of four): *** 1/2


Swing by a big-city coffee house on any given night, and you might walk in on a beat poetry session – enigmatic lyrics set to some sort of percussion that accompanies the speaker.

The Most Serene Republic, the newest addition to indie-upstart record label Arts & Crafts, captures the grassroots sensations often found in beat poetry on its debut record, Underwater Cinematographer.

It isn’t always blatantly obvious, but some of the techniques used by the band are innovative takes on successful tactics of the past.

On “Content Was Always My Favorite Colour,” the band leaps into a complex acapella vocal medley that bedazzles and awes the listener. When the complex chorus comes to a conclusion, a blistering fast acoustic guitar turns the song into something completely different.

“Proposition 61” is filled with more low-fi percussion goodness. Hand-claps and finger-snaps slowly build up into a moving chorus of “she took a sad song and made it sadder,” adding a dimension of emotional thrust to the song as the track trails off to its end.

Lead singer Adrian Jewett carries soprano vocals that are rarely seen among male vocalists in the realm of indie rock. Jewett’s vocals are hardly pure, and that’s a good thing – his voice even cracks just a little bit when he’s really stretching for those high notes, but the effort and power he puts into the music is so genuinely clear that it’ll only put a smile on your face.

Jewett opens up “In Places, Empty Spaces” with “I’ve got a box / a box of nice crayons,” just as the song bursts into a mosaic of spatial synthesizers and guitars, with Jewett crooning beautifully in the background.

Only once in a blue moon does an outstanding debut album have such a musical impact. Indie-rock fans and those looking to try something new should seek out this album. Underwater Cinematographer comes highly recommended.

Contact ALL reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].