Review: Optimystic – News

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Moody Saskatoon shoegaze band releases new album

Optimystic, a Saskatoon-based shoegaze-y folk band, have released their latest album entitled News.

Combining strange, folk-loric sounds with a massive emphasis on intricate, moody guitar work, the three-piece are well on their way to establishing themselves in the city’s growing indie-folk scene.

“Optimystic originally started as Pranay Pratijit (the lead guitarist) and I, and we never really thought anything serious would come out of the project since we started playing together in grade 10 and were both total rookies,” says vocalist Stooshinoff. “Optimystic got real once my writing became more legitimate, lyrics actually mattered to me so I wanted to put a real band together.

I don’t write music to be able to play live, but we both really wanted to be able to play good shows”

“We wrote some songs and played our first show at Jale when it was still around, and it didn’t go well, it was just kind of boring. I don’t write music to be able to play live, but we both really wanted to be able to play good shows, so we recruited Connor Anear on drums. But I guess it was essentially just love of music, we’re all into the same styles, as varied as they are.”

On News Optimystic never let the guitars crawl above conversation level – with an obvious laid-back vibe it works well in their favour, and the atmospheric noises that creep in add a nice subtlety to that dialogue.

“I write the bare bones of all the songs, but Connor (Anear) and Pranay fleshed them out in really interesting ways,” says Stooshinoff. “Pranay is really into jazz guitar, so on this album all of the jazzy tremolo guitar is distinctly his. The keys and horns that Connor plays are also jazz influenced, but the drums he plays just seem to come out of the blue. We’ll just be jamming one of our songs and he’ll lay down the craziest beat and we’ll all have no idea where it came from.”

Stooshinoff says that Optimystic’s plans revolve around playing more live shows.

“We’ve been trying to promote the album and ourselves as best we can, so no plans for another recording anytime soon, but we have some gigs,” says Stooshinoff. “On March 26 we’re playing a show at my house with Paper Beat Scissors. I absolutely worship Tim Crabtree’s music so I’m so excited. We also auditioned for Ness Creek and we were pretty tight so hopefully we get in to play the festival.”