The Constantines

Shine a Light

/sub pop; 2003/




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There are bands that sound great because they're original, or part of a new exciting trend. This type of great band is the most common and also the most obviously exciting. They are bringing new ideas into music, keeping it alive. On the other hand there are great bands which do not sound original at all. Not one bit. These bands can only rely on songs and substance rather than style. These are the ones we remember. 

The Constantines come from Canada and Shine a Light follows an already impressive debut which was never released out of their homeland. Unlike most bands out there the Constantines resurrect the dark spirit of Rock n Roll in a deadly serious way, far more convincing in what they do than the whole Detroit clique. From the vicious "National Hum" to the too-tight-to-be-laid-back "Sub Domestic" the band explores a wide range of sounds and emotions, while maintaining an impressive, almost unreal cohesiveness. They play with their hearts on their sleeves, a hundred percent serious and sincere about the music. 

The Constantines sound like they're out of the Dischord stables, yet the singer's poignant, rough voice ends up being more touching than you'd ever thought it could be. When he sings "I'm learning to survive" on "Insectivora", it is a statement coming out his guts and directly into yours. On the darkest tracks he sounds possessed with the spirits of a thousand rock singers, singing words that really matter. 

"On to You" is an unbelievable rock song for the ages, sung with a painfully touching voice, like a dying man's euphoric trance. shalalala shalalala oooooooh. "Poison" starts with a groovy bass line and a Baba O'Riley-esque guitar line, followed by the song's killer line : when we dance night belongs to us. The Constantines' filthily romantic songs smell of blood, strong alcohol, sex and cigarette smoke, putting the spirit back into rock n roll's dead body.

Most bands out there are trying to be the new something, to stick to the week's trend. It's impressive how sincere The Constantines sound. It's been a while since a band has shown that much faith in rock n roll. With only two albums The Constantines have established themselves as one of these bands that will be remembered when all the fashion victims are gone. 

-Barbara H

/oct 1st 2003/