For the first few tracks of this album, it's all looking pretty golden for experimental indie-rockers Royal Canoe on their debut studio album Today We're Believers. Hailing from Winnipeg in Canada, their influences span from art-house pop to more exotic experimental jams. It's certainly a winning formula, with vocal lines vocoded to positive effect and funky rhythms keeping you second guessing at every turn the melody takes. It's just a shame that by the end of the album you're left with a hollow feeling in your stomach, where you once thought there'd only be room for joy.

Clocking in at around an hour at length, this is a case where certain effects lose their charm after a relatively short space of time. Opening with the eponymous 'Today We're Believers', a moody, charming song with a seductive beat that entices you in really well to the album, the highlight of all that is on offer here is actually the next track, 'Hold Onto The Metal', which featured on a previously released EP. A fantastic arrangement of interweaving ideas and free-flowing instrumentation, the culmination of the track is a fantastic melding of sounds that have come before it along with some impassioned singing.

The next two tracks solidify this idea, before we're faced with the baffling 'Bathtubs'. On the first few listens, it seems like a solid track, one that would define the band in a positive light, but after a while the repeated chorus starts to grate, and unfortunately this style appears on a few later tracks too, such as 'Show Me Your Eyes.' On a lot of these later tracks the vocals are hit with an odd baritone that, really simply, just doesn't fit. The vocals undo the great work of the rest of the band, sadly, and makes hard listening of a lot of the second half of the album.

The worst offender is the song 'Nightcrawlin', which tries to bring back the sexy beat of earlier songs, but just doesn't capture the same vibes the earlier tracks had going for it. It comes across as a lot more creepy than lustful. 'Light' follows on a little later, a song that sounds vocally like James Blake and Bon Iver, but the production spoils their final effect. Again, it really gets in the way of what's good here, because it seriously is.

After this bizarre opening vocal arrangement is out of the way, we get a real funky, driven breakdown. You just have to ignore the vocal samples, sadly. In the regular release, the album is ended with 'If I Had A House', which has these Of Montreal vibes throughout, and actually bookends the album nicely, but just doesn't undo what's come before it. Two extra tracks come with particular versions of the album, and they're alright, but you can kinda see why they're bonus tracks. Unlike the latter part of the actual album, they're a fair amount more subdued, but much less clearly defined and certainly wouldn't make or break the listening experience.

All in all, there's a lot of good to take away from Today We're Believers, and Royal Canoe should be proud of what they've put out on their first album. Certainly the hints of what's good here will be what's remembered if they play their cards right, and I'm sure that any lessons taken away from the album will only make them stronger. I'd be quite happy if 'Hold On To The Metal' became one of my favourite songs of the summer, and can't wait to see what they can throw our way in a little while.