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Armistice

By Ranjan Anantharaman

Church bells start ringing slowly in the background, suddenly paving way for delicate violin, with slow trumpet playing along in traditional Mexican mariachi style, ably supported in rhythm by the vihuela. Wondering where this would take me, I listen on, my curiosity spiking with each passing moment. Mexican was not uncommon, yet, this sound was refreshing, as a couple of voices started singing in harmony, slowly, delicately, (a little nasal too, but no complaints there), and I was starting to feel the multitude of emotion the song started to bring with it.

Well, if you’re wondering what the hot new track is, I’m talking about the single Mission Bells from the self titled EP released by Armistice. Wait a minute, Arma- who?

Armistice is a Canadian Indie-pop band, started by Canadian singer-songwriter Beatrice Martin, popularly known as Coeur de pirate, and Jay Malinowski of Bedouin Soundclash. The EP was released in February 2011, and was done in the mariachi style of Bedouin Sounclash’s 2009 album Mariachi El Bronx. It was produced by Malinowski and Joby J. Ford of El Bronx fame, and recorded at Big Game Lodge at Van Nuys, California.


 
Mission Bells - Armistice

As Mission Bells moves on with Malinowski and Martin playing back and forth in Adam and Eve style, one can’t help but feel that this duo has a good potential. Mission Bells just about hit the spot, but only just about. The song gives way to City Lights Cry, a powerful message of love and betrayal, a distraught Martin claiming that she’d ”leave him for someone tonight”, to which Malinowski says he’ll “chase her there.” Soft acoustic and bass form a sound network for the duo to sing in perfect tune with each other as this tale of mistrust and reconciliation takes shape. The album then moves on to Jeb Rand, a remake of the very same Jeb Rand by Bedouin Soundclash from Sounding a Mosaic. However the Armistice version is much less raw, much purer and better mixed, with Martin now additionally lending the magic of her voice, whereas Soundclash sounded a little bare. Second time lucky, I guess. The song revolves around a character called Jeb Rand from the 1947 film Pursued, starring Robert Mitchum as Jeb.

 Neon Love - Armistice

Neon Love boasts of wonderful lyrics and soothing acoustic undertones, beautifully surging around, making for very easy listening. However the icing on the cake HAS to be God Will Get His Man, THE song of the EP, starting off very mysteriously, set up very curiously by keys, guitar undertones, bass and drums, the first for the album, when Martin kicks in, sounding like old-school jazz. However that proves to be quite a deception, as the song moves on enticingly, a little more aggressively than the previous songs, with stop-start drums. The duo of Martin and Malinowski scintillate, even more than the previous songs on the EP.

On the whole, the EP is a good start to a very promising professional relationship. The duo has immense potential, and seemed to have sparked off enough curiosity to take their Armistice project forward. The challenge now would be to keep churning out the familiar popular material, and at the same time taking their music forward and exploring new frontiers. For Malinowski, it would be how he balances Soundclash with Armistice. And as for a certain Coeur de pirate, it would be very interesting to watch how she evolves.


VERDICT: You’ll love this new sound. Male-female vocal switches are a time-tested formula, and this EP is no different. A MUST buy.

 

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