Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Album: Julie Doiron / I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day

Artist: Julie Doiron

Album: I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day

Coming back to this alb a spell past the excellent gig where I saw Julie performing these songs, it simply brings some measure of joy to relisten to these compelling, homespun songs. Employing a similar sound to her previous album (the Polaris-shortlisted Woke Myself Up), this one is given more to exploring happiness. The acoustic tracks at the album's start and end ("Life of Dreams" and "Glad to Be Alive") set the tone for the more rock-oriented songs they bookend.

As a songwriter, Julie is most noteworthy for her plainspokenness. Even when she builds "Tailor" around a series of metaphors ("If I were your paper, you could read me like a book/ If I was your pen, you could hold me in your hand") they're still the things close by, tangible in this world. But most songs don't even get that abstract, preferring an unambiguous immediacy: I am here, I feel like this.

Credit producer (and player) Rick White for the unaffected immediacy of the sound, which matches this mood quite precisely. With its vibe and sound, the whole thing is pretty wonderful, really, possibly culminating in the Eric's Trip-like rumble-and-clatter of "Consolation Prize". The album takes a pleasant left turn with the woozy synth-driven "Je le savais" and comes back for more with "When Brakes Get Wet" and "Borrowed Minivans".

It's considered, in some quarters, to be Higher Art to write about misery as opposed to happiness, so it is to be hoped that this album isn't considered to be a lesser follow-up just because it maintains a sunny disposition. For my money, this is fantastic stuff.

Track picks: 2 - "Spill Yer Lungs", 7 - "Consolation Prize", 9 - "When Brakes Get Wet"

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