The Luyas “Too Beautiful to Work”

By Brad Reno on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011  |  1,762 views


The Luyas “Too Beautiful to Work” The Luyas “Too Beautiful to Work”

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In one of those alternate universes so beloved by science fiction writers (perhaps the one in which the Enterprise was evil and Spock had a beard), a strange thing happened back in the 1960s. A shy young Brazilian named Astrud Weinert met and married not the bossa nova musician João Gilberto, but instead the budding minimalist composer Philip Glass. Much like Gilberto did in our own reality, in this alternate universe Glass prodded and persuaded his reluctant young bride to lend vocals to one of his projects, with unexpectedly pleasing results.

At least that’s the scenario conjured up in my head when I listen to “Too Beautiful to Work,” the title track from the new album by Montreal’s The Luyas. The song sounds like a genetic mix of Glass’ “Music in Contrary Motion” and the Gilbertos’ “The Girl from Ipanema.” It mixes manic repetition with a tuneful, vaguely tropical vibe and is topped with Jessie Stein’s wispy, breathless vocal that has more than a touch of Astrud Gilberto in the delivery. Then as if realizing the truth of its title, “Too Beautiful to Work” ends in a discordant clamor as the disparate elements that had no business existing in such harmony for most of its running time finally fly off in opposing directions.

As is the Canadian custom, The Luyas are something of a collective – the band is made up of members, former members or relatives of members of such bands as Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre, Miracle Fortress, and By Divine Right. “Too Beautiful to Work” reflects the many differing approaches the members bring to the band. It speaks the vocabulary of minimalists like Glass and Steve Reich, but it speaks that vocabulary with the accent of Canadian pop collectives like Broken Social Scene. It rushes by at a frantic pace, but Stein’s vocal grounds it in a wistful calm. It truly does seem to emanate from another dimension, where matter and anti-matter co-exist in harmony and rather than cancel each other out create something new.

Check out “Too Beautiful to Work” on the album of the same name, released this past February on Dead Oceans.

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Rate It Here:  My ears, they bleed!Never againMehNot my thangOne listen is enoughGood, not greatWorth a listenPlaylist-worthyThis my jam!Songasm!!! (12 votes, average: 6.75 out of 10)


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