Apostle of Hustle - Eats Darkness (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Apostle of Hustle

Eats Darkness (2009)

Arts and Crafts

In the long list of Broken Social Scene members' main projects, side projects and solo projects, Apostle of Hustle seem to have gotten lost in the commotion for me. Andrew Whiteman, lead guitarist for BSS, birthed Apostle of Hustle out of a need to express Latin-influenced styles that he became increasingly interested in after a trip to Cuba in 2001. 2004 saw their first album, Folkloric Feel, and then in 2007 National Anthem of Nowhere. Now with Eats Darkness, Whiteman and his crew have toned down the Latin feel and moved into territory that is even harder for me to describe.

A lot of the tunes employ dub elements. The groove, the bass tone and the rim clicks make tunes like "Perfect Fit" suggest dub to me, so I'll stick with that. It's also got buzzy synth sounds and distorted vocals, but all in all it doesn't do a whole lot for me, stuck in that groove and never going much of anywhere. "Eazy Speaks" sounds pretty indie rock in the verses though the quick rim-click beat and cabasa foreshadow the island rhythms in the chorus.

There are still a bunch of tunes that carry over a BSS style, building off of what is surely Whiteman's comfort zone. "Soul Unwind" has a driving beat akin to those his main group is known for, but the sax, digging on the haunting melodica melodies found often in dub and dub-influenced acts, along with the quick shift to sunny female harmonies, twist it for sure. "Xerses" is again driving with help from a staccato bassline, and stays very ‘BSS,' complete with catchy chorus vocal, though it is definitely more stripped down than that large ensemble could ever pull off. "Blackberry" has a rim-riding beat and fuzzy bass, cool little guitar leads and gentle melodic vocals. "How to Defeat a More Powerful Enemy" is probably my favorite song here although it's the safest. It remains in well-worn ‘indie' territory, save maybe the delay-heavy guitar hits.

The album is also riddled with movie quotes and other samples mashed up in sound collages, and they almost all contain gunshots or explosions -- which is just silly. Luckily, these bits are relegated to their own tracks so they are easy to skip, but skip ‘em and the album barely passes the half-hour mark.

I can find many enjoyable moments in this album, so it's hard to pin down what about it is lacking. The group tries to straddle a line between indie rock and various world musics here with dub and Caribbean elements, but end up not hitting a memorable mark in either realm. There's too much fluff and effects, not enough catchy melodies. Not sure what I'd do different, I just know it's not quite working for me.