Montreal has had more than it's fair share of bands that have flirted with greatness o­nly to implode, lose musical focus, or simply fade away (cases in point, the legendary Nils or those mavens of self-promotion, Too Many Cooks). Rubberman, former CHOM L'Esprit winners, are the latest, and arguably, greatest Montreal band to emerge in quite some time and, if their relentless touring schedule and tremendous live rep is any indication, they just might have the staying power to succeed where these other bands have failed. The debut album from this young West Island quartet, Bliss, is a testament to their hard-hitting musical virtuosity and surprising lyrical maturity. The music runs the gamut from funky jazz grooves to bluesy jams to full throttle rock with the o­ne constant being  lead vocalist's Jonas Tomalty's searingly powerful vocals as well as the impeccably tight musicianship of his bandmates. This coupled with the crystal clear production of Glen Robinson (who has worked with the likes of Tori Amos and The Tea Party) makes for o­ne of the more intense and ambitious local releases of 2001. The liltingly powerful first single, "More Than I Can Chew" has been a staple o­n Montreal airwaves all summer long and their visceral new single "Bliss" is starting to build the same kind of momentum. Other standouts include "These Lies", "Alice" and the hauntingly beautiful acoustic, "Test of Time" – as a matter of fact, there isn't a weak track to be found o­n their debut. If there is any justice in the world, this band is going to be huge. (By the way, "Bliss" is an enhanced CD with all kinds of multimedia bells and whistles, so throw it in your CD drive, sit back, and enjoy the spectacle!)

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