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Tim Vesely and Ida Nilsen of the Violet Archers

THE END OF PART ONE • The Violet Archers

The Canadians have struck gold again--with the release of the prodigiously talented Tim Vesely's first album with his new band, The Violet Archers. A long-time member of the iconic Canadian band, the Rheostatics, Vesely emerges from that eclectic and sometimes frenetic mix to create a pop-y indie rock project altogether gentler and more soulful, defined as it is by his appealing and often vulnerable tenor and his affecting (and effective) songwriting.

Vesely's musical voice and vision never falter as he negotiates the winding path among diverse genres, successfully and subtly incorporating them into his sound. Very much an electric guitar-based record, The End of Part One nonetheless layers lush and sometimes quirky keyboard sounds and occasional horns on top of a vibey, solid, but not intractable, rhythm section. These songs breathe and move with an unstudied, slack grace. According to Vesely, the album was recorded "on the fly," which apparently means one or two players at a time, layering overdubs. Surprising, as few records approached that way come near the live and natural sound The Violet Archers achieve on The End of Part One. Vesely recruited just the right group of musicians to become Archers, all veterans of the Canadian rock scene: keyboardist and vocalist Ida Nilsen (Great Aunt Ida, Buttless Chaps), bassist Aaron MacPherson and guitarist Yawd Syvester (both of Wayne Omaha), drummer Steve Pitkin (The Flashing Lights, Elliott Brood). It seems like they sounded like a band before they were a band.

While The End of Part One is not a folk record, Vesely exhibits the sensibilities of a rocker with a folk heart, at times breaking it all down with songs that inhabit a coordinate just north of folk. "Simple," for example, is Vesely's take on an old-timey duet and it has all the aching directness of the classic songs. With just his acoustic guitar (possessed, momentarily, by a benevolent bluegrass ghost) supporting them, Vesely and Nilsen tenderly sing "blue hearts, blue tears / blue and bruised and sore / blue skies awaiting / on the other shore."

More often the sense of folk is woven in with the pop hooks and power chords. Vesely has an almost uncanny melodic instinct, going unanticipated places that simultaneously haunt and hit the spot. The same is true about his lyrics. The title track, marked by a loping, easy vibe, interesting layers of sound and harmony, vocals that curl and twine unselfconsciously around a memorable melody, and humbly revelatory lyrics, perfectly illustrates all that is best about Tim Vesely, The Violet Archers, and The End of Part One.

I came to the final piece
Turns out, it was incomplete
Unfinished, unsigned and unsung
It was just as beautiful as any other one
It's over or just begun
This is the end of part one...

Those Canadians. Always striking it rich. Musically, anyway. • Judith Edelman

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thevioletarchers.com      northern-electric.ca

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