Laura Stevenson and the Cans - Sit Resist (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Laura Stevenson and the Cans

Sit Resist (2011)

Don Giovanni

I'm not exactly sure who or what introduced me to the music of one Laura Stevenson and her band, the Cans. Their music is pretty far outside the realm of what I generally listen to, and pretty far outside the realm of punk rock, so how she came to be associated with this scene is beyond me, but now that she's here, I'm not complaining.

However, it does take a few minutes for Ms. Stevenson's latest offering, Sit Resist, to really kick in. Opener "Halloween Pts. 1 & 2" feels more like an extended intro than a fully fleshed-out song, and could probably have its runtime cut in half and be just as effective.

The next track, first single "Master of Art" is where things really get good. Its opening drumbeat will have you air drumming before the song reaches the 15-second mark. Laura's vocals here are the best we've heard from her yet, and they weren't too shabby in the past. Meanwhile, "The Healthy One" is fun and bouncy, almost like an indie pop sea shanty, full of accordions and all manner of bells and whistles (literally), and is one of the best tracks on the album.

Lyrically, Stevenson has a gift for turning the mundane into something honest and appealing. The opening lines of "Caretaker", for example: "I wake up, I feed your cat, and tell myself that I'm okay where I'm at." Right away you're sucked into the narrator's world, and it's just one of many points on Sit Resist where the listener can find something emotional to latch on to. Mid-album highlight "Peachy" is an absolutely scathing break-up song. Stevenson doesn't hold back much lyrically, and I'm thankful for that. It's refreshing to hear someone go for the throat, even it happens to be set to a pretty melody.

The strongest moments on Sit Resist come when it is in fact Laura Stevenson and the Cans playing, and not just Laura Stevenson. The tracks that feature just Laura accompanied by a guitar and/or piano lack the energy of the full-band tunes, and unfortunately they are alternated pretty much one after another throughout Sit Resist. A little resequencing would have worked wonders and given the album a better flow. The band behind Laura does some interesting things, and hopefully their talents will be utilized more in the future.

Other than those small complaints, however, Sit Resist is a fine listen from a gifted, young singer-songwriter who has improved with each release thus far. Pick this one up.