Recording information: Dream House Studios; SomaLab; Stars & Sons Studio.
Photographer: Erik Stevenson .
On their impressive debut full-length, Toronto-based quartet Programm meld styles such as post-punk, Krautrock, and psychedelia into a dreamy cloudburst. The group's sound is shadowy, but not oppressively gloomy; it's more comforting than confrontational. Programm are especially skilled at blending woozy synths and twisted guitar textures, and they combine these with cold, austere rhythms and warm, emotive vocals by singers Jackie Game and Jacob Soma (who alternate vocal duties rather than duetting on any of the album's songs). Previously released single "Like the Sun" leads the album, and its ecstatic shoegaze guitars splash up against the dubby midtempo drums and Game's crystalline vocals. It's dark, but rather than feeling dejected and glum, there's something shiny and hopeful about it. "Everything at Once" and "Chemical Fires" are more uptempo and driving, with tense organ and soaring guitars. The album's prettiest tune is the ethereal, Broadcast-like "Underneath," which floats freely for a moment before slow, rippling beats wash over, combined with hypnotic strings. "Waiting" is far more urgent, with pounding, whipcracking drums and an intense climax of heavenly guitar feedback. The soft, spacy "On That Day" is the only song here that truly sounds lost and heartbroken. The album concludes with "ZeroZeroZero," which places an accordion-like drone over a slowly thumping beat, gradually flaring up static-like guitar feedback, and finally ending with a sea of floating piano notes, some of which are in reverse. Programm accomplish a lot with A Torrid Marriage of Logic and Emotion, a more than promising debut. ~ Paul Simpson