An engineered awkwardness flows through Broken Social Scene offshoot Apostle of Hustle’s sophomore effort, National Anthem of Nowhere. No more is it more evidential than on ‘Cheap Like Sebastian’, a bastion-like ode to deprecation set to slow moving swing that poses the question of what lies beyond the nowhere of nowhere. Firstly, Apostle of Hustle’s protagonist Andrew Whiteman proclaims he’s cheap like a bloke named Sebastian, or a metaphorical bloke named Sebastian who retreats to Niagara Falls (Canada’s Blackpool) for sex, drugs and all things cheap. But, as the song picks up, melodically and lyrically, Whiteman changes the theme from ‘cheap’ to ‘feel’, revealing even more awkwardness trapped inside the already awkward.
Like the rest of National Anthem of Nowhere, Whiteman prefers to keep things clean, quiet and emotive in this single. Really, it a simple roll on the snare drum and some sublime harmonizing to lead the way, making this unique foray into the world of the big, bad and ugly – figuratively speaking – a very good song. ‘Cheap Like Sebastian’, with its desperately restrained bass line, melancholic feminine vocal accompaniment and dreamy, ‘I am glad this person is not me’ mentality, conjures up comparisons that dwell in all of us, from failed love to failing at finding love in the first place.
Sebastian, or whoever he is, resonates with me, resulting in another pensive, evocative example of Toronto’s fantastic scene of broken socialites.
7Shain Shapiro's Score