The Cannanes were one of those oddities of musical history that produced legends in a bubble. The band were often more popular outside of their own country than in their own backyard and they created the kind of low-key, spare and emotional, yet witty records that brought smiles to the faces of plenty of jangle-pop devotees. Thing is someone would likely have to have passed you the key to The Cannanes in a time of less information dissemination (at least here in the States), but for those that found themselves inside the subtly thrumming sounds of of the band in the early ’90s, they found a kindred spirit in their aloof but shaggy arms. The band finds some distinct stylistic lines drawn from The Vaselines and Young Marble Giants, but they push into their own personality in good time and no place is this more apparent than their standout album, 1995’s A Love Affair With Nature.
The band begins to temper their erratic lineup shifts at the time of Love Affair and that stability gives the album its consistency. The band coalesces Fran Gibson’s voacals, with their style of winking on the surface but sweetly and secretly pretty sincere. The band released the album themselves originally at home, with Chicago indies Feel Good All Over and Ajax picking up US issues. Their lack of popularity in Australia proved a sticking point and one that would eventually cause them to quit touring and throw their efforts into recording. They’ve existed in some form over the years, never truly dissolving, though sometimes working down to the skeleton crew of just Gibson and guitarist/vocalist Stephen O’Neal. This one finds its way back to a world that’s more accepting than ever, and its the kind of record that I’d think would be a welcomed treat for those tracing the lines of indie and jangle through the years. With so many bands holding on to the blueprint that The Cannanes helped cement, its time for the original to stand up once again and be counted among the essentials of the ’90s.
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