Early Day Miners: The Treatment

By: Dennis Cook

"We're going out tonight/ Won't you join us?/ No more regrets tonight/ I've had enough."

This invitation arrives over lock-tight percussion, an interestingly repetitive guitar figure, luminous processed bass and penetratingly human voices that show the charred understanding of folks who've walked through fire and lived to tell the tale. Early Day Miners have been around a decade but they've generally tended towards denser, less swiftly accessible work than The Treatment (released September 22 on Secretly Canadian), which proves a total, multilayered treat with a toe-tapping exterior hiding a chewy emotional center.

There's a cool post '80s feel to The Treatment, where Factory Records, The Fall and Radiohead hold infinitely more sway than The Beatles, Stones, et al. This is the sort of music that one imagines blaring from flying cars or neon lit bars as zeppelins advertising life on the off-world colonies fly overhead. Put another way, this is highly modern music, and fittingly it moves and shifts with a fluidity and intelligence very much the product of the early 21st century. What keeps The Treatment from feeling icy - like so much of the contemporary world - is guitarist/lyricist/vocalist Daniel Burton's warm reach, something felt as much in his aching delivery as the actual words themselves. This music longs to enfold the listener, and its arms are long and strong. And the rest of the band - Jonathan Richardson (bass), John Dawson (guitar) and Marty Sprowles (drums) – keep things thick but springy, pulling off U2's neat trick of sounding like a small army despite being a quartet.

Moments, like beautifully befuzzed "Spaces" or the patient unfolding of "The Surface of Things," have the feel of "one last good time," a final twirl below the mirror ball as New Rome slowly crumbles around us. As dark edged, wonderfully textured black celebrations go, The Treatment is that rare slab that works equally well on the dance floor as it does in the long, pre-dawn hours after the party is over. Grand stuff.

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[Published on: 9/24/09]

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