the postage stamps
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the postage stamps

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"review for "this ugly arrangement""

he Postage Stamps
This Ugly Arrangement
By Liz Worth

This Ugly Arrangement seems an odd title, as no matter how closely you listen there is nothing ugly to be found here. This album is frequently decorated with wide, rambling intros and outros, as the Stamps embrace space and confidently play around with structure while incorporating compelling melodies and keeping a strong focus on the vocals. “To No One” uproots shoegazer tendencies and captivating fractures of rhythmic soundscapes. The title track sees the band delve into a loosely experimental side then spins into the deeply driving “Autumn + Everything,” which is a darkly harmonious recitation. This Ugly Arrangement successfully combines broad, sprawling fuzz and angular, intuitive songwriting that captures every subtle shade and hook, which the Postage Stamps have honed into a style that is distinctly their own. Full of subdued climaxes and shy discoveries, this album is one that simultaneously shows many sides and sounds. (Independent) - Exclaim magazine

"review for "this ugly arrangement""

The Postage Stamps - This Ugly Arrangement (Independent)

The Postage Stamps have been a pillar of the Toronto indie-rock community since migrating to the big smoke from the Oshawa-Whitby scene (along with friends The Mark Inside, Action Makes and Anagram) nearly six years ago. Since then the Stamps' founding member Keith Hamilton has been a busy man about town, helping form the groundbreaking recording collective Suck My Disc! and booking and promoting something close to 500 shows for his popular long-running music series Pitter Patter Nights.

Ironically titled, This Ugly Arrangement marks the band's first album since their current membership solidified in late 2004. It paints a picture of a band whose sound is open to experimentation and growth while still being rooted in melody and sensible rhythms. For example, the title track is a slow-burning, electro-tinged post-rock instrumental epic featuring Hamilton's captivating saw-playing skills. It also currently has my vote for Wicked Drum Part of the Year (the kit sounds like a freaking drum machine, but it's all Mike Duffield).
Recorded at Montreal's Hotel 2 Tango studios (this band named Arcade Fire recorded an album called Funeral there a couple of years ago, you might have heard about it) Howard Bilerman and Kevin Komoda do a great job of capturing The Stamps' unique collection of genre-crossing gems. "Turning Off" twangs country-themed inflections until a sweeping, pop-driven chorus delivers a soaring vocal hook soaked in jazzy saxophone. Listen closely and you'll hear elements of 90s emo, folk, jazz, indie-rock and post-rock here. The Stamps work hard to make these unlikely combinations gel into a cohesively dark, intelligent, psychedelic trip that could still conceivably be filed under Pop/Rock.

With such a strong collection of songs, it's difficult to pick favourites, but right now the bittersweet guitar hook from "The Hold," the worth-the-wait comedown and climax of "Reckless," and the nocturnal bass riff that opens up "Pacemaker" come quickly to mind as stand-out moments-the kind that make you shiver with profound appreciation.

Rating: VVVV

This Ugly Arrangement is currently available at Soundscapes, Rotate This, and Sonic Boom.
- The Varsity


This Ugly Arrangement [LP] (2007)
Split 7'' w/ The Down and Out (summer 2004)
When Day Becomes Night (2003) [ LP]
Self Titled (2002) [EP]



The Postage Stamps are a band originally from Oshawa, that moved to Toronto amongst a whole slew of awesome bands....except while most of the bands landed downtown, the stamps ended up in Scarborough. Among a house full of instruments, the Postage Stamps have spent the last six years undergoing many evolutions in sound and have just released their second LP "this ugly arrangement" which was recorded by the esteemed Howard Bilerman at hotel2tango in Montreal. On their journey they have shared the stage with Death From Above 1979, And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, The Dears, Meligrove Band, Chad Vangaalen, The Suicide Girls Burlesque Show and will continue to find good company as they play on.