Apostle of Hustle: National Anthem of Nowhere (Arts & Crafts, 2007)

April 10th, 2007

By Bryan Kerwin

So, in 2001 Andrew Whiteman, guitarist for a little band you may have heard of called Broken Social Scene, spends two months living with relatives in Cuba. He comes back with a hankering to combine some sensuous Latin grooves with the straight-ahead rock and roll of his other bands in the Toronto scene. Thus, the world is given Apostle of Hustle, and it is good.

On the band’s sophomore album, both of these influences are apparent, but don’t be fooled into thinking of it as some poorly conceived bastardization of two distinct genres. Whiteman manages to assimilate the varying sounds of the record into a tightly cohesive whole, creating an album that is at once sleek and unpredictable. The Latin influence is most apparent in the pulsing rhythms of songs like “The Naked and Alone” and the Spanish language “Rafafa,” where elsewhere the band gives over to driving indie guitar pop a la BSS. Standouts here include the shiny melancholy of the title track, and the superiorly infectious “Chances Are,” which is like listening to that Len song plus musical ability and minus the guilt/shame.

Where “The Scene’s” last album tended to sound cluttered and crowded, Apostle of Hustle manages to filter its sonic experimentation through some stellar production, resulting in songs where you can actually hear everything, but still have a ragged life to them. Whiteman’s impeccable ear for melodies both slurry and spry helps out too. With all the high-profile releases from Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, et. al. surrounding it, National Anthem of Nowhere is probably going to get lost in the shuffle, but it’s just as worth the listen.

Whaling Wall Matthew Farrell
Chow Feng Shui Josh Elmer
Stained Glass Ceiling Emily McNeill
Anarchitect Mike Berlin
SaHarrison Desert Harrison Flatau
Metrolollipopolis Jennifer Konerman
Tropic of Scurvy Heather Newberger
Copy Editors Danielle Sherwood
  Jenna Scatena
  Elliott Feedore
Adviser Mary Beth O’Connor
Chief Residents Abby Bertumen
  Kelly Burdick
  Bryan Chambala
  Sam Costello
  Cole Louison
  James Sigman

Buzzsaw Haircut is funded by the Ithaca College Student Government Association, the Park School of Communications and a generous grant from Campus Progress.

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Front cover and back cover of print edition by Jake I. Forney.
Section dividers of print edition by Jake I. Forney and Justin Lubliner.