Owen Pallett may not be a household name, even in his hometown of Toronto, but it is clearly recognisable enough to sell records in profitable quantities to a certain kind of music fan. Indeed, it was well known enough to justify being used instead of his old moniker ‘Final Fantasy’ on his most recent solo album: no more was he being sold as "that guy who did the strings for Arcade Fire"

I’d be extremely surprised if Pallett’s presence on this 2003 album from fellow Canadian Jim Guthrie was not a primary motivation behind the decision to give it a vinyl reissue. But, that shouldn’t negate your enjoyment of this album - a slow burning folk-pop gem, forty five minutes long and working best as a collective whole, listened to in lazy slumber at home. It is an ideal vinyl album, entirely wasted on the CD/MP3 age - indeed, it even kicks up a notch with its most naturally melodic tune ‘Lovers Do’ as side two begins.

Jim Guthrie has had a long-ish musical career - starting in Royal City, then jerking into a series of quirky projects (albums made using just Playstation sounds as instruments, for example), collaborations and on/off membership of the band Islands, all leaving him largely in obscurity. Only on this album has his work come close to universal critical praise - and perhaps the only remarkable things about it are its conventionality and how easy it is to like (only on the final track, 'You Ar Far - Do We Exist?' do we get any of the bleepy noises his earlier work relied on).

There are some delightful moments on ‘Now, More Than Ever’, none more so than an instrumental title track - a lovely melody, a lively performance, swooping strings and an unexpected change of pace for the final bars. It shows how Guthrie manages to make likable music despite having an indistinctive voice that rarely moves beyond a whisper and a three-note range.

Now, freed from the rat race of an over-populated release schedule, this album sounds charmingly low key. Reviewers at the time assumed that leaving his bedroom 4-track studies behind, entering a real studio and hiring a string section marked the start of a tilt at the mainstream, but in fact, it appears to be his final work as a solo artist. He will surely remain a cult concern only. Yet, newcomers to Guthrie should see this carefully packaged edition of his finest hour as a sound long term investment.











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