Neil Young, Palace, Beach Boys, and Beefheart have died, decomposed, and deposited themselves in the banks of the future river. You’re digging there for gold and find instead The silt: Ryan Driver (nylon-string guitar, drums, analog synth), Marcus Quin (simultaneous bass and drums, lap steel), Doug Tielli (elec. guitar, bass, trombone, melodica). They’re cooing, growling, fumbling, and being generally angelic.

Earlier Ways to Wander – The silt’s second release on Toronto’s unusual record label Rat-drifting – contains songs whose detailed roots melodies, three-part harmonies, rich instrumentations, and sweet surreal words tickle the eardrum, inspire the imagination, and break the heart. Driver, Quin, and Tielli command their instruments and voices with a fluency rare to pop music, yet abandon virtuosity at will in favour of the lovely crackle of experimentation.

Tielli describes: “All sorts of junk amidst a beautiful song…there's room for animals to run around in there.”

Put simply, The silt is one of the few groups to successfully introduce to pop the spirit of experimentalism (in The Reveries, Tielli and Driver played a show with Charlemagne Palestine and won high praise from Walter Zimmermann). These guys have the impulse to make strange sounds, yet remain utterly in love with beautiful songwriting.

Likewise, despite the fact that every song contains different instruments and different approaches to both music making and recording, Earlier Ways to Wander is not scattered or pretentious, but rather…just marvelous; from the psychedelic soulfulness and pitch-bent ecstasy of “One Day” to the blissful melodic perversion of “Happy Wheat,” this record is too heavy to hold, even with both hands.