Prize experimentalists Yamantaka // Sonic Titan deliver clinically intense prog-rock
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Toronto-based purveyors of the experimental, already have a fair rep in their homeland. Their 2011 debut album was nominated for the Polaris Prize, Canada’s equivalent of the Mercury – although ‘UZU’, its follow-up, is bolder, rangier and more ambitious than anything likely to trouble that bauble’s orbit. Afforded lush, keyboard-heavy production, in many ways they resemble a vintage prog rock band: ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ is as clinically intense as King Crimson. Yet with songs averaging a mere four minutes, a pop sensibility is ever-present, be it breezy (‘Whalesong’) or sorrowful (‘Seasickness, Pt. 1’), and kept accessible by Ruby Kato Attwood’s crystalline vocals. The best Asian-Canadian global village-raiding quasi-art-metal album you’ll hear in 2014? Definitely.