Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? quizzed the title to The Unicorns’ quasi-seminal kitchen sink collection of 2003, although the Québécois trio essentially neglected to ask, or indeed inform as to who might uptake their kooky mantle when they decided to call time on the project the following year. Islands has kept Nicholas Thorburn busy enough, October’s Ski Mask an agreeable enough recording, but it was one that overcompensated in indie-pop refinement, and was therefore found lacking a certain zany allure. Well, erstwhile bandmate Alden Penner’s latest vanguardist escapade, a four-track EP entitled Precession, effuses eccentric charm in vast abundance, and does so while retaining a winsome finish. It can be heard in its fourth and final piece, No Peace, as of Montreal melodrama combines with widescreen Morricone expansion in the holiest of matrimonies.
Nonetheless as can so often be the case in these sorts of situations, it’s an initially slumbrous title track that, evocative of Seven Swans as much as it is Neko Case’s smoke-filled narratives, has a naturally gravitational attraction to it. “Now that I have you, next to my body, I can do with you all that I want to do” Penner croons and, as though having succeeded in seducing us with a slinky acoustic intro, soft psych-flecked electric heck breaks loose and leaves you feeling strangely bereft once Alden eventually lets go. Kookily consummate.