With its debut self-titled album, Eight and a Half, a Canadian indie supergroup that pulls members from acts like The Stills and Broken Social Scene, melds the styles of former projects to create a beautiful auditory experience.
The band keeps with The Great White North theme by calling upon producer John O’Mahony, who worked with fellow countrymen Metric. Metric’s guitarist, Jimmy Shaw, also chipped in with some production assistance. O’Mahony’s influence is heard in the softer drum lines that allow reverberating synthesizer and guitar lines to really shine through.
The lead single “Scissors” encapsulates the tone of the album perfectly. Moody instrumentals and hushed vocals result in an eerie and intimate soundscape that teeters on the edge of a hypnotic trance.
The following cut, “Go Ego,” awakens listeners from this Zen state and gets the body moving. Percussive elements interlock to create a steady groove as the band works in sporadic electronic elements here and there.
The debut swings between bright, joyful tracks and gloomy ones that touch on insecurity and heartache. In doing so, the album seems to take on a life-like quality that can cross over to listeners’ emotions in a variety of situations.
The final track on the album, “My Forevers,” is a fitting end to a stellar piece of work. The song revives the primary motif of “Scissors” and pairs it with a breathtaking pipe organ.
With The Stills breaking up and Broken Social Scene going on hiatus, Eight and a Half’s debut effort shows they have room to become something much bigger than just another side project.