The Most Serene Republic is an indie pop band from Milton, Ontario. They’ve put out three proper albums since 2005. All of them were released on Toronto’s record label/management firm Arts & Crafts. The band’s name is a reference to the former Republic of Venice.
This is another band that I discovered a few years ago simply because I was wandering around on the Arts & Crafts website. I saw their video for their most famous song “The Men Who Live Upstairs”, and I was immediately sold. The vocal harmonies, the allusion to mid-late-1990s American shoegaze. The juxtaposition of a clean jangly guitar and the crushing wall of sound. I fell in love immediately. Plus, if I’m totally honest, there are some very good-looking women in the video. Not the least of which is (former) band member Emma Ditchburn.
It was one of those things. I played the TMSR album Population (2007) almost non-stop for several months. Because of the timing of my discovery of them, I didn’t have to wait very long for their next album … And The Ever Expanding Universe to be released. Initially, I don’t think that I liked it as much, but now I like it more than I like Population. Unfortunately, just after the release of the album, Emma Ditchburn, who played guitar and sang, left the band. I don’t know the details, but I get the impression that it wasn’t the best of terms. To my knowledge, she isn’t playing music now. TMSR have carried on without her, and have a new album in the works, but it isn’t the same without Emma. They released an EP — Fantasick Impossibliss— in 2010, and I didn’t care for it very much. I don’t dislike it. It’s just that it sounds so… British. Not that that’s a bad thing per se, just that it doesn’t have that Toronto sound that I love so much. They also re-released an “album” of stuff that was recorded in the pre-TMSR days under the name Thee Oneironauts. They were young. They didn’t have Emma. I haven’t heard it.
Like I said, it took a while for …And The Ever Expanding Universe to grow on me. Even after it did, I was so hung up on songs like “Heavens to Purgatory” (watch that wonderfully creative Juno-nominated video here) and “Phi”, which fall on side A of the album. It took a while for “No One Likes A Nihilist”, which is the last song on the album, to hit me.
This is that song.
“No One Likes a Nihilist” by The Most Serene Republic
Of course I love the vocal harmonies. I always love the co-ed vocal harmonies. Apart from that, there are two specific bits in the song that make me stand up out of my seat every time. At 0:55, after that brief bit with the piano solo, the drums come crashing in like so much thunder. It’s heavy, and it’s loud, it’s sudden, and it’s meant to be jarring. It is. There’s a similar “crash of thunder” moment at 2:14, and I love it. I also love that it’s completely Emma’s song from that point on.
I’m not crazy about the way the song ends. Everything is crashing together, and it’s a lovely mix of piano, guitars and drums. It stops at 3:16, and we’re left with some sustain for the last 30 seconds. Honestly, I’d prefer for the song to just have a cold ending at 3:16, instead of going with the overlong fade. Still, though, it’s a great song.
You can and should get …And The Ever Expanding Universe directly from the Arts & Crafts web store.