Apostle of Hustle change tune

-- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 4:15 AM ET

Andrew Whiteman pauses to reflect on the ever-changing musical moods of his Apostle of Hustle project.

"I expect," the band's founder and lone permanent member muses, "that in about four more albums we'll have transformed into a trance band. We'll have completely dispensed with chord changes by then."

He is being facetious, of course. The multi-instrumentalist still has plenty of chord changes left in him, as evidenced by the wealth of infectious ditties heard on the Apostle's recently released National Anthem of Nowhere album. But it's fair to say Whiteman is in no better position to truly predict his future musical pursuits than are we the faithful listeners.

And that, for this Broken Social Scene member and prolific composer, change is the only constant. Few, for instance, saw the coming of Apostle's first release, 2004's Folkloric Feel, a collection of songs inspired by the music and culture of Cuba.

Perhaps fewer still were prepared to digest the whirlwind journey through genres that is National Anthem of Nowhere. The Latin influence remains, whether overtly as in the case of an adaptation of a Frederico Garcia Lorca poem, or subtly as in the provocative percussion of Haul Away -- a track that comes across as something of a Black Keys sea shanty.

But that influence shares space on the disc with everything from flashes of vintage bubblegum pop to, well, a hint of trance.

"Looking for a new technique," a chipper Whiteman announces on the album's opening track, My Sword Hand's Anger. That technique, presumably, is the Gestalt school of recording. And National Anthem of Nowhere can now be considered its textbook.

"There is a specific story to the album, to me," Whiteman says. "There's a specific geography, which is under the rubric of the dockside. And there is a story. I wouldn't want to tell anyone the story, in case they've written their own. But it involves the supernatural, and various revolutionary statements."

Presumably, he's referring as much to a musical revolution as he is to a political and social one. An alumnus of Toronto's legendary late-'80s instigators The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, the guitarist has played a key role in the development of the influential Broken Social Scene collective.

That latter band is of course, as has been widely reported, currently "on hiatus."

That break has provided, as it did during the last BSS "hiatus," an opportunity for Whiteman to once again recruit trusty Apostle bandmates Julian Brown and Dean Stone for a bout of touring.

"I can't count on them putting everything on hold for me, they are musicians," Whiteman says of the pair. "But the timing worked out well. And it's important for us to have the chance to get out and develop these songs and our sound."

We were treated to a taste of that sound during Winterlude, when The Apostle of Hustle braved the elements for an outdoor concert Whiteman recalls as fun, and memorable.

"It was good, if cold. We had this heater thing onstage, and every time I jumped away from it, I was reminded that it was February and we were outdoors. Of course, that encourages you to keep moving."

Not that Whiteman has ever needed much encouragement.


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