Ten Kens - For Posterity
Naming your second album For Posterity could either be an amazing sense of faith in your own abilities or a blundering leap of over confidence. After listening to Ten Kens’ second album you realise that this isn’t some ego centric statement - it’s simply the knowledge that the band have left a marker and now everyone else has to catch up.
Ten Kens, a four piece from Toronto locked themselves away in a studio in late 2009 and, through an overburdening sense of cabin fever, produced a record the defies these cramped, highly pressured conditions to be one of continual musical invention. Each track takes you in unexpected directions. The track before is not an indicator of the next and this is sustained, not just for the first few tracks, but for the whole album. This isn’t to say this is an album of disparate musical styles. There’s a strong adherence to alt rock here. Guitars: tick. Well honed rhythmic base: tick. Alt rock experimentation: tick tick tick. There are plenty of bands out there that are ploughing this furrow; what separates Ten Kens from the herd is in the construction, the writing and the delivery of their songs. There’s a basic, sparse arrangement to these tracks that makes it all about the music. This is the best Steve Albini album that he wasn’t involved in. You don’t pick up a lot of musical references in this album. It’s more Ten Kens than anything else. But occasionally you’re taken back to echoes of vintage Nirvana (In Utero, not Nevermind...).
Sometimes you throw everything into your efforts. To adhere to the cliches: the blood, sweat and tears, even the kitchen sink. Sometimes the result is a mess but occasionally, as with this record, you can end up with a masterpiece. 2010 finally has its stand out record.