The evolution of Jean-Sébastien Audet—the artist previously often called Un Blonde and at the moment answering to Yves Jarvis—has been ruled by a curious contradiction. Because the Montreal-based psych-folk auteur has reined within the crazy-quilt sprawl of earlier releases for extra compact, half-hour statements, his songs have develop into extra gloriously overstuffed. Like his earlier solo effort, 2020’s Sundry Rock Music Inventory, The Zug presents itself as a conventionally scaled rock album of strong two-minute tunes that push Jarvis additional away from the times when he would dish out 30-second avant-gospel area recordings or linger in a Tropicália oasis for eight minutes. However he’s not a lot enhancing concepts out as folding them into each other, compacting his stunning mess of ideas and sounds into tidy little packing containers till they’re liable to burst.
All through The Zug, Audet imagines your favourite ’60s psych-rock artists happening their ashram retreats and by no means coming again, liberating themselves from all sense of pop music logic and crowd-pleasing obligation. He delights in transmuting the acquainted into the overseas: propelled by tense acoustic strums and his double-tracked vocals, “On the Whims” might nearly move for a classic CSNY lower—no less than till the music is contaminated by digital squelches, looming waves of suggestions, and a jazzy guitar solo that sounds prefer it’s being performed on a backwards loop. Audet’s melodies are bubblegum within the truest sense of the phrase, their outlined shapes step by step mangled and stretched into infinite instructions. Although “Prism By way of Which I Understand” could solely clock in at a minute, it remolds itself on a line-by-line foundation. Whereas its opening salvo suggests a cosmic classic-rock hymn, it shortly downshifts into a unusual prog waltz and again once more, like two totally different songs battling for squatter’s rights of the identical vinyl groove.
Although it attracts from a well-recognized palette of acoustic instrumentation and primitive electronics, The Zug is drastically distinguished from Audet’s earlier work by its stressed sense of rhythm, which lends even the album’s most scatterbrained moments—just like the crazy organ doodle “Gestalt” and stuttering kitchen-sink jam “Thrust”—a frantic ahead momentum. However the place songs like “Projection” effortlessly fuse meditative folks and hyperactive funk like a campfire Can, “What?” sees Audet gesture towards the dancefloor, melding frisky grooves, ecstatic harmonies, and lysergic guitar solos like a pawn-shop Prince.
For all of its shape-shifting musical abandon, The Zug finds Audet delivering his philosophical musings with an ever-enhanced focus. At this level, he’s develop into the anti-Kurt Vile: Whereas each artists use self-referential meta-songwriting to stake out their zen state in a risky world, Audet forsakes zoned-out hypno-jams for bursts of quiet chaos that starkly illuminate the positive line between inside peace and exterior turmoil. “We’re out on the perimeter/Making the very best of this flight,” he sings initially of “On the Whims,” and over the course of the report, he deftly navigates a world of disinformation and discord with a mixture of wide-eyed optimism and withering wit. “Infinite Tube” is a string-sweetened ode to each the wonders and horrors of the web, whereas “On the Line” makes use of gospel aesthetics to skewer puritans whose conception of freedom doesn’t transcend the suitable to be unrepentant assholes.