Recently, I have hit a wall with my guitar playing: I love to play, and the simple things are getting easier for me. I am improving at singing/playing simultaneously, and I’ve learned a new blues chord progression (thanks to my friend Kevin). But I keep coming back to the same problem: I don’t know any theory. So, as you can imagine, I was quite pleased when I came across Montrose Music Studio through Dealfind – $20 for 6 group lessons and one private – talk about a deal!

Soon after purchasing the lessons, I contacted Jason Bernstein, owner and instructor of Montrose Music Studio, and I met with him today to assess my skill level and decide which class I should be in. After playing him my pieced-together rendition of Third Eye Blind’s Motorcycle Drive By (you thought it was going to be Semi-Charmed life, didn’t you?), we struck up a conversation.”My rates are very competitive,” he said, “because I’ve been here only a year, and I’m trying to build up a client base.”
“So where are you from originally?” I asked.
“Winnipeg, actually,” he said, letting out a breath.
“Oh, hey, I saw a band from Winnipeg a few months ago…my friend and I showed them where to get the best poutine in town.”
“Oh really? Maybe I know them, music scene’s not too big there…I was in South Africa once, chatting to a friend. He mentioned he’d met a guy from Winnipeg. Turned out it was my best friend from high school!”
“Hah! No way! Well the band’s called the Liptonians, ringing any bells?”
“You know, I have heard of them, but I don’t know any of them personally. Music in Winnipeg’s different, though. There aren’t separate cliques like there are here. You’ll likely see the same people at a Jazz show that you saw at an Indie rock show the day before.”

This might explain the diversity in the Liptonians’ album, “Let’s all March Back Into the Sea.”

The thing about this album is definitely its diversity. The Liptonians are not a one-size-fits-all band. They can do keys-based pop, they can do heavy sound-effects reminiscent of Panda Bear, they can do Man-Man esque percussion, horns, and shout-singing, they can do emotional acoustic, they can do Death Cab. The problem with this is that they do not have a defining sound. Certainly, it’s nice to be able to play diverse music, and when it’s done well (as I feel this album is), it’s an overall enjoyable listening experience. But it is simply not memorable. When I listen to a band or musician, I listen because I know what to expect. I’m not going to listen to Spoon when I feel like listening to Against Me! You could easily call both these bands “indie rock” bands, but each has its own very unique style. A defining style. That is what the Liptonians are lacking in this album. It is not cohesive as a body of work. Individually, each song is well thought out musically and lyrically, each is well-mastered and well rounded. But after listening to the entire album and seeing the band’s live show, I still can’t really tell you what their sound is. It’s a little of this and a little of that.

Personally, I think they need to ditch the acoustic-y sappy sound – there are a million and one singer/songwriters out there with an acoustic guitar and a microphone, it’s easy to get lost among them. Instead, I think they should steer more towards the big horns, big keys, and big percussion that they’ve displayed in a few of their songs. And from the looks of things, they do seem to be kicking it up a notch.