It is what it seems. The Cansecos are witty. Their name and sophomore release, Juices! pays blatant homage to baseball and one of its most quixotic figures. Juices! is a giant leap forward from the band’s 2004 self-titled release, using a pairing of densely mixed digitalism and a smattering of subtle, though impactful lyrics. It’s surely a dizzying ordeal, kind of like taking a baseball to the melon.
Signed to Toronto’s Upper Class Recordings, home of Cadence Weapon and The Russian Futurists, The Cansecos are primed for ascendancy, as their label sets to gain ground on Arts & Crafts in the battle for Canadian recording supremacy. They’ve been compared to The Postal Service sans Ben Gibbard, and are pegged to replace The Rapture as ogle-worthy dance-pop act. The Cansecos offer all the sounds of both of those bands but are, at least on Juices!, hardly as obnoxious.
On the exterior, The Cansecos are built on most of the hallmark instruments of modern electro. Drum machines, vocoders, and synthesizer. All standards when it comes to computerized music. A closer listen to Juices! finds the album spilling its digital blood. That is—the lyrics have a distinct sense of hopelessness with a touch of Canadian romanticism. On “Raised by Wolves” a wailing synthesizer is met by the prophetic whining of “Love is a need/ love is a greed/ love is divine/ love is unstable” and the repetitive chorus “I was raised by wolves.” “Wolves” is easily The Cansecos most infectious song from Juices!, while songs like “Seen the Sun Rise” can get stuck in your head even when the lyrics remain indecipherable.
At no time is the churning landscape of Juices! more obvious than when the words “Is this the calm of the storm or is this combat?/ Is this the height of a war or just a warm day?” are rhetorically vocodered on “Nothing New To You,” a straight pop song, only to be followed by acid trip mope track “Clear Blue Sky.” The Cansecos’ ringleaders of production, Bill Halliday and Gareth Jones manage the heavily textured sounds in a way that the multitude of layers intermingle but do not interfere with another, leaving Juices! with a sound that is lush but not overdramatic. The songs here can be danceable or reflective and can be sung along with or can remain subterranean.