For a multitude of reasons -- some obvious, some utterly unfathomable -- Toronto-based avant-garde quintet Do Make Say Think are unfailingly overshadowed by their randomly punctuated labelmates. However, history is the great equalizer, and when you look back, you'll find that little the coquettish nontet has ever unleashed can match up to the confounding power and splendor of DMST's Goodbye Enemy Airship the Landlord is Dead
. Though the group's unbeaten streak was momentarily interrupted by last year's mediocre & Yet & Yet
, DMST have made a storming return to form with the ornate finery of Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn
, their fourth and finest record to date. Unlike the vast majority of their one-dimensional chamber rock brethren, DMST are a band of many visages. On "Fredericia", they're both the most outlandish psychedelic marching band in the world and the greatest noise-rock band to ever amble out of the Great White Way, while "107 Reasons Why" sees them recast as funereal avant-folkies for a dilapidated interpretation of Jeff Mangum's psychosis morbidity whose stark ruminations on the nature of being are unparalleled, even within the band's accomplished canon. They deftly tread the line between the haughty musique-concrete scene and the blown psychedelic noodlings of the Arts & Crafts set on the pummeling "Horns of a Rabbit", an epic creation that buries flights of squawking free-jazz fancy within an unremitting electronic maelstrom.
If Winter Hymn... has one real problem, it's that it lacks a solid personal archetype; it seamlessly combines the choicest bits and bobbles of other acts into an overwhelming patchwork of sound and fury, but in the process, the band occasionally loses sight of their own identity. Still, that's no reason not to plunge deep into Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn's flawed autumnal grandeur.