FIFTHS OF SEVEN - Spry From Bitter Anise Folds

Categorization - or putting things into tidy little boxes where they comfortably sit - is not always fair. Take Canadian [Montreal based] trio Fifths of Seven. Where would you put a trio made up of a cellist [Beckie Foon], a mandolin player [Rachel Levine] and pianist/accordion player [Spencer Krug]?

Would you swiftly dump them into the classical music idiom, or would you file them under contemporary music or better yet improvised music? These are not easy questions and there are certainly no simple answers. Is it really necessary to mention that the trio is a fragment from Montreal's anti-capitalist music business [you remember bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Fly Pan Am, Black Ox Orkestar]? It's probably best to let this music stand on its own merits without the baggage of what came before. The swooning of the gentle cello is fascinating. Beckie Foon has a sharp sense of what colour needs to be added at just the right time. Rachel Levine's pensive mandolin picking melts in superbly with Spencer King's accordion playing as well as his hushed piano work. The best feature of the trio's music is its stillness and its hauntingly gorgeous nature. It's almost as if the world stood still, while they created some of the most rousing music not paying attention to any trends, any popular notions in music today. This is exactly why "Spry From Bitter Anise Folds" is such a terrific record. Working in a musical vacuum can pay off hefty dividends after all.

- Tom Sekowski

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