In the few short years of their existence, Toronto’s Three Gut Records have established themselves as Canada’s premier independent label. Not only have they not put out a bad record, but they have yet to release a mediocre one. The critical praise is building up in piles around them and their signature acts are now hooking up with some of the premiere labels around the world (namely Sub Pop and Rough Trade) for broader distribution.
A big part of Three Gut’s surge to the top is the work of Jim Guthrie, best known for his work in the shambling Royal City. Though he plays sideman to Aaron Riches in that outfit, Guthrie is a fine writer and performer in his own right as he proves with Morning Noon Night, his sophomore solo outing.
The fragmented songwriting that you’d expect from Guthrie is here in force, but what may surprise some is the prevalence of programming throughout the record. Guthrie built these songs — get this — around programmed tracks he put together on an old Playstation console.
The basic programming moves from glitchy to surprisingly smooth and organic. Meanwhile, Guthrie lays guitar and vocal tracks over top, with friends from the local scene adding touches of strings, choir vocals, and keys. Guthrie’s understated blend of pure pop with experimentalism calls to mind the work of Sufjan Stevens in its ability to challenge the listener while also providing an immediate payoff.
Written by Chris Brown.