Fine Canadian Forces, Hebrew Lessons

Fine Canadian Forces is multi-instrumentalist Jordan Fine (Five Star Trailer Park, Lake Country VHS) who for the past year has been constructing his debut album using a loop-pedal by combing his love of Modern Jazz, Noise Rock and Pop.

Hebrew Lessons follows two rules (So it seems): 1) Must use the loop-pedal at all times. 2) Can these songs be pulled off live?

It is these two rules that have hindered Fine’s sonic experiment by forcing him into the loop formula. Most of the tracks on Hebrew Lessons consist of one liners being repeated as Fine focuses all his energy on intricate compositions. The worst being “Bigfoot” which features the unfortunate line, “We buy possum guts / We buy gorilla suits” while clocking in at 5-min long! Must be an inside joke, maybe it’s a Toronto thing?

What saves FCF’s debut are Fine’s cleaver cover choices that challenge the original while somehow keeping them recognizable; especially Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” and The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”. Fine has an exciting concept here, but people are looking to be inspired as well; He needs to start telling stories besides just making cool effects. (Independent)

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Fine Canadian Forces – Official Site 

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Posted on June 25, 2011, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This is Jordan, AKA Fine Canadian Forces.

    Thanks for taking the time to review the record Jason,

    I’m hesitant to respond to a review of my own record I think it’s kind of weird, but still – I’d like to clear a few things up:

    First, in Bigfoot – “Possum Guts and Gorilla Suits” will come up in a quick google search. I don’t want to explain my lyrics, but some very minimal research will give you some help interpreting the song. It’s my favourite song on the album, and I think if you don’t understand what it’s about, you may not understand what the record is “about.” It’s all there.

    I’m also curious as to what you mean by “Loop Formula?” The loop pedal is as much a musical instrument as anything else. There are certainly hindering factors, but there’s no more a formula to utilizing it then there is, to let’s say, calling the trumpet formula “Playing only trumpet notes.” I’m building things on top of other things – that’s what a loop pedal is for. Some of what I do is very intricate indeed, so I feel like “Loop formula” minimizes just a little bit of the compositional aspect of the songs.

    Also, I just want to clarify that the cover songs that “save my debut” are the ones that most prominently feature the use of vocal repetition – Higher Love, Jessie’s Girl, and Log Driver’s Waltz all use an excess. The use of repetition on those covers is very deliberate.

    That’s all – thanks again for listening, and taking the time to write a review I welcome a response!

    J

    • Hey Jordan,

      Thanks for responding. I will try to clear up some of your questions, keep in mind that these are only my opinions and will not be shared by everyone. Your records was one of the hardest records to review thus far as I spent many weeks listening to it in different settings and platforms. But, I still feel like in the end, I just didn’t get what you are about and that definitely comes out in my review.

      I checked out “Possum Guts and Gorilla Suits” on google, even with the clarification, I still don’t like the song. But, I do like your analysis of “Loop Formula” – yes it does minimize the compositional aspect of your songs – and should of been worded differently. I guess you could say the compositions didn’t effect me on an emotional level. The repetition of listening to a record defined on loops is pretty hard if the songs don’t grab your attention. In the end that’s all that matters. Your choice of weapon is the loop pedal, let’s say for arguments sake that it wasn’t and that you recorded one track at a time – my opinion of the record would not have changed. I’ve seen many loop players live and it is a very cool and entertaining technique – when done on record it loses that wow factor.

      After listening to the album for weeks, I enjoyed the covers the most because it was a play on something I’ve already heard before and really enjoyed where you took them. Please understand that I don’t like to piss all over a record, albums are not made in a day and the energy and time it takes to put one out is a process I can only imagine. So, I always look for the positive and I hope people check out the music anyways – hence the link to your website.

      Thank you for responding to my review, Jordan. Your critique has taught me a lot of what to watch out for in my writing. Especially, for albums I don’t understand, I over generalize – which is not a good thing, but I will in the future take more time to understand where the artist is coming from.

      I wish you all the luck in the future!

      • Hey, thanks for the super quick response! I am completely fine with the difference of opinion. There is no doubt in my mind this record is not for everyone.

        There’s also no doubt that the loop requires a minimalist, repetitive approach – it’s part of the territory – and I recognize that the live performance may be more interesting for some since you get to see that I’m playing guitar and singing and holding a trombone and beat-boxing. There are a lot of elements going on, usually simultaneous, and I’m just one person, and you only really find that in the liner-notes on the record.

        One thing you got in the review is that I’m limiting myself to not recording anything I can’t recreate live. I see that as a virtue and is part of the point – I’m a huge music fan myself, and I’ve been disappointed enough by know by now that a band that can’t duplicate their records live is doing themselves a disservice. When we were talking about how to approach recording, I juxtaposed two shows I had seen in the previous year – Grizzly Bear, and Peter Bjorn and John. Both have very complicated arrangements, but only the former pulled their songs off to a tee. The later missed out on all of my favourite elements on the record, be it a missing guitar line, or a lacking drum fill. To sum: It sucked.

        Anyways, this is your review, and I respect your opinion completely. As an artist, I’m completely capable of defending my art to anyone, (as well any artist should be,) but I also believe that an artist shouldn’t be explaining themselves – that the art needs to speak for itself. And if it’s not, that’s something I absolutely need to take into account.

        Thanks again for the review and getting the word out,

        Jordan

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