In my bedroom at my parents’ place, I have this black-and-white television I used to turn on after my alarm clock woke me up for school. It was set on channel five for Inspector Gadget, and during breaks, I’d hear this one commercial about how people should patent their inventions; otherwise it’ll be just like telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell stealing the ideas of the Elisha Gray. Playing Apostle of Hustle’s Folkloric Feel reminds me exactly of that commercial, only not as melodramatic.
The Toronto-based threesome is comprised of Julian Brown and Dean Stone with Broken Social Scene guitarist Andrew Whiteman taking center stage. As Broken Social Scene expanded a few years ago, Apostle of Hustle was put on hiatus; Whiteman et al only started focusing on this band around the same time Broken Social Scene released You Forgot It In People in 2002. Broken Social Scene continues to enjoy success and is often called the breakthrough band in the Toronto indie scene. Fair enough; it’s a community of friends playing together for the sake of music. But how do the bands differentiate from one another?
The scattered Folkloric Feel sounds like Broken Social Scene with a slight Spanish vibe. But unlike Broken Social Scene’s intricate soft-spoken melodies and catchy riffs, Apostle of Hustle tends to play out more like an art film; no one knows where it’s going, and a lot of it leaves the audience confused.
That’s not to say that there aren’t crafty moments — the swaying down-tempo drums and Cuban guitar on “Animal Fat” make for beautiful scenery; you could almost imagine watching Apostle in a smoky bar in Havana. But it all sounds too similar; Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning even make appearances on Folkloric Feel. It’s good to be creating an indie scene in the city where all your friends are helping you and making their own stuff, but it all begins to sound the same, and that gets tiresome. Perhaps one idea is the best way to go: Even if Apostle of Hustle came first, they might as well be known as Broken Social Scene Deux now.