Saskatoon multi-member pop group’s album should be given second chance
I knew I had reached the next echelon of musicianship the day I found one of my own CDs in the used bin at the Vinyl Exchange in Saskatoon. Even worse, my band’s newest album was only a month old.
Having prodigiously anticipated selling precisely 80 copies of our album – the amount needed to break even – we boldly pressed our music onto a professional compact disc. This was a big deal back then. The minimum order was 500, but we forged ahead anyway knowing that most of the pieces of plastic would end up rotting in our parents’ basements. We kept that promise.
“Like the ingredients of veggie hotdogs, or who your partner gargled genitals with before you, there are some things you are better off not knowing.
Seeing the album tucked in with CDs that were far better yet miraculously priced the same was a feeling akin to being simultaneously crushed and weirdly honoured at the same time. But the feeling of betrayal went far deeper – I personally knew all 15 of those people who had bought the album personally from me, and vowed to break into their houses to rummage through their collections to find out who did us wrong.
But, like the ingredients of veggie hotdogs, or who your partner gargled genitals with before you, there are some things you are better off not knowing.
So when Saskatoon’s Zachary Lucky Tweeted that he had happened upon over a dozen copies of Carbon Dating Service’s last record Reliquiae in the used bin at the north end Salvation Army, as weird of a find as it was, it didn’t really matter why they were there. Some of us have bargains to jump on.
And as happy as I was to finally acquire the album for the princely sum of a dollar, it was a little sad to see the multiple copies of Reliquiae jammed in with the moldy Pat Benatar and Nana Mouskouri LPs. It is true that some things are only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for them. On the other hand, most everyone can agree that an album recorded by a multi-member indie pop gaggle is worth far more than a buck.
I miss Carbon Dating Service. I remember their shows would sometimes have an epic feel to them, as though you were about to watch some grand spectacle unfold in front of you that would turn on a dime and silence itself immediately just in time for the few forlorn plucks of a giant harp.
Other times you would see a literal cacophony of kids onstage being directed by the demented sways of a robot with arms made out of dryer hoses courtesy of a costumed Steve Reed.
Reliquiae, however, is worth far more than the one-dollar price tag would suggest. The music is replete with simple pop harmonies that eventually wind themselves into knots – the fun part is listening to see if the members ever find a way out of the clever corners they paint themselves in. Usually they do not, which is actually the best part.
A cluster of instrumentation that is somehow both simultaneously glib and surefooted yet somewhat clumsy at the same time, the band is stacked with talented and able musicians who wrote songs that seemingly never quite got their due.
Now that members have gone on to other projects, including the wildly successful Shooting Guns, it may well be time for a reunion show – I hear the kids are really into those these days.
Regardless, I suggest digging through those dollar bin crates that litter our city’s many thrift stores – you never know when you are going to strike gold.
On the other hand, you could just download it for free courtesy of the band, like a fucking cheapskate.