The Stills - Logic Will Break Your Heart (2003)
The Stills are a New York-by-way-of-Montreal post-punk indie outfit that get endless comparisons to Interpol, which means that they share Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen influences. They are very much a New York art-rock hipster band (they have toured with Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Rapture), but they're aren't simply Canada's Interpol. Logic Will Break Your Heart compares very favourably to Turn on the Bright Lights, while still managing to scratch out its own identity.
The Stills make sad music for sad people, with brooding lyrics of disillusionment and defeatism. But the music itself, when removed from the lyrics, is often more up-tempo than one would expect from such a band. A four-piece unit, The Stills consists of singer-guitarist Tim Fletcher, lead guitarist Greg Paquet, drummer Dave Hamelin, and bassist Oliver Crowe. Their arrangements vary from the mope-rock numbers like "Let's Roll", "Animal Instincts", and "Yesterday Never Tomorrow", to surprisingly uptempo (if not upbeat) songs like "Ready For It", "Gender Bombs", and "Still In Love Song".
While the tone of the album is one of ironic detachment, it's not an album you put on to wallow along to. This is not an emo record. The lyrics and sound is too immediate for that. This isn't a CD for a spurned lover (although "Still In Love Song" does cover that ground), but rather an album for people in their mid-twenties who have become disenchanted with the world. As they state on their website, the album "is a record of sweeping romanticism struggling against a homogenised world. The world is heartbreaking. When you're young and you have ideals you strive to push through boundaries, then as you get older and are forced to get a job you realise how the system works and logic breaks your heart". Which could explain why I've been listening to it so much lately.
For me, the best tracks on the album are the opener "Logic Will Break Your Heart"-- a sweeping, almost majestic, indictment of a certain militaristic-superpower, "Gender Bombs"-- with its infectious high hat, "Love and Death", "Still In Love Song", and "Changes Are No Good". "Of Montreal" and "Allison Krausse" are two of the weaker tracks, but work within the context of the album. Coming in at just under 50 minutes, it is a solid album that one can listen to straight-through without skips, and keeps getting better everytime I listen.