Published Nov 06, 2018Still emerging in Canada's music scene, Elliot Maginot is one of the most underrated artists in the country. It seems like the Montreal singer-songwriter appeared almost out of nowhere with his 2014 debut Young/Old/Everything.in.Between, and despite that record's marvelous blend of pensive indie-folk and dark-ish dream-pop, his fan base seems to be contained mostly within Quebec. With Comrades, Maginot really can't be ignored.
Maginot takes tried-and-true folk and rock stylings and dresses them up in warm layers of ambience, choral harmonies and just a hint of international flavours. Lavishly produced by Connor Seidel, Comrades has a warm, inviting and blissful sound that you can place alongside Bon Iver's self-titled record. "Eugene" stands out right away, with its beautiful swirl of piano, acoustic guitar, banjo, choirs and ethereal background sounds.
Maginot's songs are finely crafted and his varied arrangements make them really shine, like the art-poppy "Common Place" (fans of the 1975, take note), the speedy, eclectic "Cross," or the comforting power-ballad "Call Your Mother," which opens up with "Jungleland"-like force when saxophonist Nick Ferraro — who's well-utilized throughout the album, and earns a gold star for his work — comes in wailing at the end. Others, like the cool, hooky "Stay Gold" and the funky, modulated "Purging Days" have a Phil Collins-y vibe, borrowing from past eras but sounding no less modern and intriguing. Maginot's voice is tender and romantic, and his words are evocative and impassioned as he explores the meaning of relationships and one's place in the world.
Contemplative, captivating and organic, this is a record that showcases a young artist elevating his work to a whole other level. Elliot Maginot is well-attuned to what makes music pleasurable, and he deserves far wider recognition than he's gotten. Next time you find some time to unwind, dim the lights, put on Comrades, and let it wash over you. (Audiogram)