Apostle of Hustle truly holds a special place in indiedom. Their rock credibility is more-than-legit through their Broken Social Scene/Arts & Crafts connection, so listeners don’t have to worry about how much they mean to the scene and enjoy their sound more out of context. What makes their second release, The National Anthem of Nowhere, so intruiging is that it walks the line of rock and folk, but bursts alive as an elaborate integration of art-tronic houserock that flourishes in the catchiest ways while exuding cool.
Right off the bat, the band drops three of its finest achievements to date. On "My Sword Hand’s Anger" , a feathery acoustic guitar and soft, pumping drum welcome in an obliging snare before Andrew Whiteman’s vocals spurt in with a fuzzbomb bass. Once it hits the refrain, a strung-out guitar joins in for a post-modern folk jam that’s nearly impossible to resist. "National Anthem of Nowhere" has the most Broken Social resemblence – a skating rockout complete with brass backing. "The Naked And Alone" is darker, with breathy vocals and chilly organ giving way to an ominous piano, that helps build the intimate mood of the album.
The rest of the album contains a variety of styles and instruments that never stray from the cozy coolness. "A Rent Boy Goes Down" has a rolling piano and acoustic interplay splashed around a distorted guitar refrain. "Rafaga!" illustrates Whitehead’s stylish Cuban influence at a quicker pace than does "Fast Pony For Victor Jara", and both exemplify the far-reaching talent the band has. "Cheap Like Sebastien" smooths out the bumps in the rug with airy guitar effects and a wispy vocals.
As their extensive list of influences shines through their raw talent, Apostle of Hustle have created a fascinating album worthy of everything from magnetic interest to pure curiosity. The National Anthem of Nowhere is a collection of intricate backyard folk woven into basement rock viewed through an unclouded production lens. Even though the group is at most five regular members, combined, they sound more like a dozen cozy neighbors. Maybe this helps explain how, at its best, the Broken Social Scene collective sounded even bigger than they really were.