The Weakerthans 'Reconstruction Site'

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John Sampson continues to sharpen the contrast between the noisy agitprop of his former band Propagandhi and the low-key melodicism of his current one on this, the Winnipeg-based Weakerthans third full album. Forcefully literate (Sampson spent time between his two musical projects writing and launching a small publishing business) yet wed to a coolly urgent alt-pop musical sense that nicely underplays his self-conscious musings on personal obsessions that variously take in the title track's introspective impressionism, the poisonous nature of nostalgic, ritual cronyism on "Psalm For the Elks Lodge Last Call," and the acoustic poison-pen letter to his native Winnipeg, "One Great City." Propelled by a straightforward, occasionally jangly electric guitar assault, yet lightly seasoned with deft horn touches, pedal steel and simple harmonies, it's an album that's smart at every level.

1. Manifest
2. The Reasons
3. Reconstruction Site
4. Psalm for the Elks Lodge Last Call
5. Plea from a Cat Named Virtue
6. Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault in Paris, 1961)
7. Time's Arrow
8. (Hospital Vespers)
9. Uncorrected Proofs
10. A New Name for Everything
11. One Great City!
12. Benediction
13. The Prescience of Dawn
14. (Past-Due)