Martin Tielli

By Peter Hemminger

It’s time to face facts: I’m just an awkward white boy at heart. Despite efforts to expand in funkier directions, to shake it like that proverbial Polaroid picture, my album of the year once again resides in the realm of rock and roll.

At least, on the fringe of rock and roll.

Martin Tielli has never been one to be easily classified. He’s rock in the same sense that Queen is rock, or that Outkast is hip hop. It’s just the easy label.

The first words on Operation Infinite Joy are "I hate you all," and while it isn’t the harshest opening to a pop album this year, it is a call to attention. What follows is one of the most theatrical, creative and, dare I say it, splendiferous albums to emerge in years. It’s more focused than his works with the Rheostatics, richer than its darker but equally wonderful acoustic predecessor We Never Suspected He Was The Poppy Salesman, and far more accessible than his work as Nick Buzz. All of which make it an ideal entry point to Tielli’s superb catalog.

The unconventional voice, impressionist lyrics and occasionally flamboyant guitar work may not make for the easiest first listen, and it could take a few tries to become fully immersed, but it’s time well spent. From piano stomps to gospel romps to gothic choirs, there’s a magic to Tielli’s music that’s nearly impossible to find elsewhere.


The Weakerthans–Reconstruction Site

Joel Plaskett Emergency–Truthfully, Truthfully