Music Review: Four Days Awake by Canvas

by Azreel | June 22nd, 2003

I just got my copy of Four Days Awake by Canvas. These Musical Magicians invoke the chant through music and weave the incantation of melody and emotion over the listener. With music reminiscent of early Radiohead, Tool, Led Zepplin, or Pink Floyd, the album begins with the smooth tribal and eastern indian influenced “Kamala’s Garden” but quickly moves to the passionate “Break” and “Intertwined” – songs that caused my chest to tighten and brought tears to my eyes with the flood of emotion. The hypnotic beats continue with “all about you” – filling the listener with the sweet intoxication of a more mellow melody. The melancholy tones of lead singer Joseph King and guest backup singer Justin Furstenfeld combine with the rhythms of Scott Thomas to create a magickal panoply of sights and sounds dancing through ones head.

“Strange Hello” yanks the listener back to another emotional experience, and the cover song “Four Days Awake” follows it up with a gut wrenching spine tingling lament – one cannot help but want to sing, nay, scream along with the goosebump raising emotion that floods from the harmonies that are woven like threads strung through the heart by these alchemists of the soul.
“Jezebel” brings the guest appearance of Johnnie Goudie on the organ, and continues the journey of a heart and soul darkened by love and connections found and lost, with the haunting lyrics and riffs heightening the experience. We return then to another ephemeral tribal experience with “Om / Inside of you”, and one can almost smell the incense, feel the flicker of flames, and see the swirl of veils as bellydancers spin. Shane O’ Madden returns as guest violinist on this one, his performance matching that of his earlier accents provided for Kamala’s garden. Incredible guitar from Julian Mandrake and Ben Raida, and bass from Brad Byram combine with the phenomenal drum work from Scott to create a 3D sensory experience.
“There is No Light (anhedonia)” extends the eastern sounds into another rush of sensual anguish, but just when the emotions reach such a height that one can take no more, we are treated with the soothing healing tones of “Lessons From Underneath The Kachina Woman’s Skirt”. Uplifting and rejuvinating while still real and meaningful, this perfect answer to earlier pain helps heal the wounds we all carry in our hearts.
This prodigious album ends with “Carousel”, providing a fitting ending to an emotional rollercoaster. So many times while listening to these newest offerings by Canvas, I found myself with goosebumps, singing along with shared emotion to these songs and incantations, filled with pain, joy, sexuality, sensuality, and mischeif, all of which strike a chord within the base of my soul.
The release of Canvas’ second album Four Days Awake, produced by acclaimed engineer/producer Stuart Sullivan (Willie Nelson, Meat Puppets, Sublime), will be followed this summer by tours of the Midwest and East Coast. S

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