Rheostatics

Whale MusicIn 1992, Rheostatics released the brilliant album Whale Music, where every song has cohesiveness and originality: you can’t imagine Martin Tielli’s unique vocal style being replaced, and his guitar rhythms are beautiful; and the other musicians make contributions equally astounding, including the underrated song Palomar.

Phillip and I have most of their albums, but Whale Music and Melville are the only ones I don’t grow tired of.

They recently released a new album: 2067. I’m not purchasing it, though: since Whale Music, I haven’t heard anything they’ve produced that grabs me like their first few albums did. I’ll wait for Phillip‘s opinion: I trust him (most of the time).

Incidentally, Whale Music was inspired by Paul Quarrington‘s enjoyable novel Whale Music, which spawned an equally enjoyable movie. A book, CD, and movie of the same name, all worth reading, listening to, and watching.

5 Replies to “Rheostatics”

  1. Loved the album and the movie too. Congratulations on the new babe, btw. Also, you may get a kick out of this comic, which Lee so kindly explained for those of us who have forgotten their calculus.

  2. I agree with Jody on this one — basically, if you’re going to buy any Rheostatics albums, get Whale Music and Melville. Although there are some excellent songs on other albums, as albums you can listen to straight through, these two hold up much better than any of the others.

    Introducing Happiness was popular for awhile — probably because it contains their big hit, “Claire,” but of the 18 songs on the album, most are simply noisey and forgettably silly. “Take Me in Your Hand,” “Jesus Was Once a Teenager Too,” and “Onilley’s Strangle Dreams” are the stand-outs (all of which were incorporated into the soundtrack the Rheos recorded for the film Whale Music; hense, they have two CDs called Whale Music). The rest of the songs on Introducing Happiness sort of bleed together. I think it’s one of those CDs that sounds good playing in the background, but not one that gives you much to sit down and really listen to.

    Their albums have been getting progressively noiser since, less melodic with sloppier song-writing (the only exception being Harmelodia, their childrens’ album). The Group of 7 CD is nice enough for what it is, but not really a CD you “get in to”. I don’t know if there’s a single worthwhile song on Night of the Shooting Stars. Maybye there is. I’ve never been able to listen to that CD all the way through, and in total I’ve probably listened to it maybe 3 times. Their Nightlines CD has two good songs on it, “Don’t Say Goodbye,” and “Stolen Car.” Their double live album isn’t bad, though I quickly got bored with it. The album would probably flow better if they’d simply recorded an entire show instead of portions of various shows; fading in and out after every second or third song doesn’t work. I have a concert of theirs I recorded off CBC Radio called “World Next Door,” and it’s only 7 or 8 songs long, but I’ve listened to that more than the double live album, which I never listen to anymore.

    As for the new CD, I’m not getting it either. I expect it’s just lot of noise. I recently saw the Rheostatics live at a club in Halifax. EVERYBODY I’ve ever talked to who has seen the Rheostatics live says they are the greatest live band they’ve ever seen. I was expecting to be impressed, but I wasn’t. I was impressed with the sweat pouring out of Martin Tielli and the energy he put into every single note (he was amazing), but I quickly grew tired of the music and left while they were playing their encore. They played too many silly songs like “Me and Stupid,” and hardly any songs I recognized. The only song they played from Whale Music was “Palomar.” Because they played stuff mostly from their later albums, not their earlier albums, most of it was just noise to me.

    I think they are great musicians, and a good band, if not great (don’t know about that anymore). But for me, they’ve gotten noisier over time, not better. Too bad.

  3. I discovered the Rheostatics when I was fifteen. Saw them play in Vancouver, not knowing who they were, and immediately went out and bought Whale Music because I was so impressed (it broke soon after I bought it for some reason I can’t remember — it’s been 13 years since then). I’ve seen them twice since then: once in a small pub in Newfoundland about 10 years ago — at one point they left the stage and came down into the audience to play an acoustic set, which was cool, and again a few months ago in Halifax with Phillip. That was Phillip’s first time seeing them live, but it was easily the worst of the three shows I’ve seen them do. Too bad. I kept waiting for Martin to pass out and the paramedics to arrive–he doesn’t have the physique to jump around like he once did…

  4. I can’t remember how old I was when I first heard them, but I remember hearing “Horses” and loving it. That, “Sergeant Soulglue” and “Record Body Count” are the ones that stand out in my memory.

    Have you read any of Dave Bidini’s books? On a Cold Road was excellent – highly recommended if you’re a fan of the Canadian music scene during the seventies. After that, Tropic of Hockey was a huge disappointment – I mean, it was interesting to learn about hockey in China and the UAE, but he makes passing reference to all the other places he went to see hockey being played outside of North American and Eastern Eurpoe. It was frustrating to know that he went to so many other places and didn’t even write about it.

    I haven’t decided if I want to read Basebalisimo yet.

  5. I saw Dave Bidini’s hockey tv special based on his book (or vice-versa). I think he had fun playing hockey all over the world, but I could tell it wouldn’t be much of a book, except for die-hard hocky completists, if there is such a thing.

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