Constantines: Shine a Light

ConstantinesDude, Canada is the new Liverpool! Okay, Glass Tiger not withstanding, Canada has put out some good stuff in recent years, including The Constantines. It’s like Tom Waits has gone rock ‘n roll. Some might argue that Tom Waits is rock ‘n roll, but I’ll shout them down in a barrage of cussing and insults. Most often compared to Bruce Springsteen for some reason, I don’t get it. Isn’t Eddie Vedder Bruce Springsteen anyway? When the hell did The Boss ever put out anything this heavy and dark? Never! This is a band that wears its emotion and drudgery on its collective sleeve. “Nighttime/Anytime (it’s alright)” pounds through four minutes of wrenching, bleeding-heart post-rock brilliance. The thing grows and shrinks and bludgeons and begs forgiveness all in the matter of one tune–pretty impressive, if you ask me. These certainly aren’t pop songs, as they lack the chorus verse chorus thing, but they hold your interest and build and collapse and build once again, unlike so much of the drek out there. The album does tend to sound like a giant AA meeting after a while, but from great pain (and great boozing) comes great albums. There are a few songs in here that sound like a filthy, ugly version of Spoon, and even a couple that remind me of The Grifters’ bluesy, rock swagger. The album peters out a little towards the end, but the first three quarters make up for any deficiencies.