Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The Constantines, Kensington Heights (Arts & Crafts)
I was primed to push Kensington Heights right into the top ten before I’d even heard it. Something about this band hits me squarely in the chest, makes me want to champion them, spread their gospel. But the record unfortunately fails to deliver on the trajectory promised by their three album run (The Constantines -> Shine a Light -> Tournament of Hearts), instead surrounding a handful of strong songs with less impressive material. I’m choking on that last sentence, though, because sub-par material for the Constantines is still damn good stuff. It’s never less than honest, nothing but heartfelt, and obviously crafted with yeoman-like dedication. It’s all listenable, enjoyable and well made, but only on a couple of occasions – “Million Dollar Hotel,” “Trans Canada” and “Credit River” stand out – do they rise to the sorts of heights that you’ve come to expect of a Cons album. Call it a place-saver in the canon, something to tide us over until the next jaw-dropper.