Beliefs Habitat LP Release Show by Jacqueline Howlett

Jesse Crowe hits the stage without introduction and the first words that erupt are “Catholic Guilt…” and we are paying full attention, ears peaked like German shepherds. The mood of the song is dark, powerful, hinting at storms but, today, controlled. Many of us connect deeply with these themes, raised as we were on belief systems that promised we’d be “cradled all the way to hell…”.

The opener feels stripped down, maybe because the vocal is more foregrounded than in much of Beliefs’ first record, Leaper, but is actually sonically rich, ambient. “Divided Youth (only lovers)” seems to climb into these themes once more, playing with the notion of “divinity”, prescribed behaviours, and self-empowerment “I am not what’s in front of me. You’re not what I am gonna be.” The late in the song subtle chord shift suggests that yes, the I, here, will indeed have the last word. Will win. The best interrogations of religion and its messages are clever and the best among them are this artful: able to channel some of that pomp and drama of the church into Post-Punk forthrightness, requiring no trickery or superstition to wield real power.

We are here for Beliefs highly-anticipated album release (shared with Odonis Odonis), in this chillest of rock music rooms in Toronto that feels more authentically like downtown New York than Manhattan did last we checked, the room is full of people, and shortly, will fill with smoke that drifts in the changing lights making strange and beautiful clouds. Crowe and Josh Korody are often out of sight, as just one step back makes them disappear in the fog. They are accompanied tonight by two friends to round out the sound of the new album live, which takes a tour down dark hallways and evocative imagery. There’s the right amount of gloom for us die-hard Post-Punk fans who always await just such a return to musical form to a great age of rock music.

There are moments of electronic-led beats, but not of the dull new century kind we’ve grown used to. The old kind. The kind that is now a proper throwback to our younger selves, who are still here, waiting to pick up the beats our younger selves thought were the future. There’s still time. You can move to some of this music, you can sway, but you probably are mostly riveted to what this band wants to let you see up there. And at home, you’ll want to lay back, to think. Spend time with this new music and have a conversation with it. Pick out the lyrics, decide what it is to you. Like we used to. This album is what we call good news.

Beliefs, Habitat, (2017) Hand Drawn Dracula Records.

(Our recent album review for Habitat is here)

Photos by Dave MacIntyre