"No Twig" - the Silt
A sauntering, harmony-laced, downtempo showcase for some kooky guitar work, "No Twig" has the melody and ambiance of something off American Beauty as performed by Will Oldham. A Toronto trio with unusual musical talents, the Silt (as in "fine sand carried by running water") is compromised of guys known to play instruments such as bass flute, trombone, and bass clarinet, while the drummer, one Marcus Quin, plays the bass and drum at the same time, probably for some very good reason which I just can't happen to imagine.
In "No Twig," however, it's all about the guitars, which appear subdued and orderly for the first minute or so, while the song is dominated by some deft group harmonies, only to begin playing flourishes, between lyrical lines, that give Wilco a run for the money for their odd textures and twangy-tinkly dissonances. Meanwhile, singer Ryan Driver, left on his own, has a quavery voice that enjoys exploring the elastic spaces around the actual melody, furthering the impression that at any moment this thing could just fall apart, mere anarchy loosed upon the tune. But memories of those beautiful harmonies linger, and eventually they return, the guitars settle down, somewhat, and this long but engaging piece of twisted Americana finds its ending.
I have no explanation as to why a song like "No Twig" can sit quietly in my listening folder for a couple of months when suddenly, on one brisk light blue late March day, it strikes me as a song that needs to be heard, shared, written about, contemplated. But such is the way music works (in my brain, at least). "No Twig" can be found the CD Cat's Peak, released in January on Fire Records in the U.K.; the disc had been previously self-released in Canada in 2007.