Snailhouse: Sentimental Gentleman

Snailhouse Cover

Forward Music

Here’s yet another artist from the musical Petri dish that is Montreal except this one is no next new thing. Instead, as member of Wooden Stars and as a soloist Mike Feuerstack has been making music professionally for 15 years.

So why haven’t you heard of him before? Likely because when it comes to public acclaim for thoughtful, intelligent music, he’s closer to Ron Sexsmith than Justin Bieber.

It continues to be a slim market for roots Canadiana, which is the vague slot this collection most comfortably fits. The overall landscape here is atmospheric, broody, downtempo, questioning, with occasional outbursts of Beatlesque pop (‘Great Storyteller’ ‘Daydream’). You’ll be needing to look elsewhere for wicked hooks and bigass choruses. But when it comes to nuanced, introspective tunes, dude has his ducks in a row. 

The title track deserves is central place as touchstone for many of the other songs, a masterful evocation of yearnings with no place to go until maybe tomorrow. ‘Every Day’ is one such as Feuerstack opens up virtually acapella until instruments slowly fold into the weave leaving us with a track that would have fit perfectly on John Cale’s Paris 1919. 

Not everything here reveals its all at first glance and there’s a suspicion this album’s the kind that grows on a body with repeated listening. Come May 24, you’ll be able to test the theory when Sentimental Gentleman drops in Canada.

James Lizzard