. We're staying in Montreal for my weekly analysis of the top 10 short list for the 2010 Polaris Music Prize, as I take a closer listen and look at Les Chemins de Verre by Karkwa. What's that you say? Haven't heard the record, have we? Well, Karkwa have kindly furnished me with five records so that I can pass the freedom on to you.
The world certainly needs the music that Karkwa has composed for this record, which is a bit sneaky in its sway over you. It's dreamy, sweeping pop music that is really quite cool and, on a superficial level, a lot like a Francophone Patrick Watson. But wasn't Patrick Watson the most controversial Polaris winner yet? Some felt he totally earned it but, more than Owen Pallett before him, I did hear people express some shock that he won.
Not begrudging shock necessarily, just like "Huh? Really?" Still Karkwa exhibit a whole lot of musical bravery and tenderness on this record. They're like the ideal Mr. Right--strong but sensitive. Maybe they can make a quick jolt of money too and then really break some hearts. Ah, but if it were only so simple. Even though I enjoy this record, here's how I think the Polaris jury might break things down:
Les Chemins de Verre by Karkwa:
RIGHTFUL RANK: Bottom 5
LIKELY RANK: #8 ( I know there's only a #1, but humour me )
STRENGTHS: Obscure outside of Quebec; from Montreal, which people associate with musical greatness; Francophone; crazy dynamic and fascinatingly sophisticated pop rock; going for a decade, so not some flash in the pan; an undeniable artistic achievement that should be encouraged by this nation's music critics and fans.
WEAKNESSES: Depends on the jury, but a Francophone record might not be all that comprehensible beyond it's obvious sonic power; among the lowest profile nominees; often really artistic at the expense of being accessible (writing that pained me btw, but I'm trying to think like a potential jury member).
OVERALL STATUS: SO RICH AND DESERVING BUT CAUGHT IN A VERY TOUGH FIELD THIS YEAR.
How do you imagine Les Chemins de Verre will fare in the 2010 Polaris Music Prize sweepstakes? What is its stiffest competition?
I have five copies of this CD to give away to the 3rd, 19th, 48th, 71st, and let's say 115th people to post on this here blog.
If this ends up being you, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with "Get Outta My Dreams, Get into my Karkwa" in the subject line, and your blog moniker and shipping address in your message.
Posted by Vish Khanna, CBC RADIO 3