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Exclaim! - - REVIEWS - DANIEL SYLVESTER YASIN RAHMAN SARAH GREENE TOM BEEDHAM

FOLK

The Weather Sta­tion

Ta­mara Lin­de­man, aka the Weather Sta­tion, is one of Canada’s best song­writ­ers. On her gor­geous 2015 al­bum, Loy­alty, she was care­ful and ex­act­ing, al­most per­fec­tion­ist in her writ­ing. Her self-pro­duced, self­ti­tled fourth al­bum sees Lin­de­man boldly blurt­ing out seem­ingly ev­ery­thing with new aban­don in a rapid-fire flurry. It fea­tures synths and fly­ing, nose-div­ing strings con­vey­ing a giddy romp full of in­tense feel­ing. Not only did Lin­de­man pro­duce the al­bum, record­ing in Mon­treal at Ho­tel2Tango with a core band of Don Kerr (drums) and Ben White­ley (bass), but for the first time, she wrote her own string parts — and they sound al­most as nat­u­ral and in­te­gral as her vo­cals, which al­ter­nate be­tween hushed bluesy talk-singing in the vein of Laura Mar­ling and smooth, breathy high notes. Also prom­i­nent are Ryan Driver’s flute and Ben Boye’s key­boards and skro­nky electric gui­tar along­side the acous­tic songs. The Weather Sta­tion is Lin­de­man’s loos­est, most con­fi­dent al­bum yet, but it may also prove to be her most deeply psy­cho­log­i­cal. Along­side the ups and downs of her own re­la­tion­ship, she tack­les her par­ents’ di­vorce, her rela-

spell­bind­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The se­cret weapon on Yar­row may be Saskatchewan duo Kacy & Clay­ton, as Kacy An­der­son’s haunted back­ing vo­cals drift through­out the record, giv­ing this mul­ti­di­men­sional al­bum even more breadth. Al­though only 38 min­utes long, the al­bum’s slightly weaker mo­ments — like the too-pre­cious “Roll Ju­lia” and “San Juan Hill” — stick out a bit more than they should, there’s sim­ply so much to love here that it hardly mat­ters. (Six Shooter, sixshooterrecords.com) tion­ship with her fa­ther and ideas about be­ing free and com­ing into her own, find­ing her power — all against the back­drop of un­cer­tain, stress­ful times. (Out­side, out­side-mu­sic.com)

What was the most chal­leng­ing part of this record?

These songs were re­ally hard to sing. I wrote them, ob­vi­ously, and then when we were record­ing, I just couldn’t do it cause it was so hard to breathe. I had to learn how to breathe dif­fer­ently cause there are so many words. Over time I learned how to sing them and now I can sing them any time. But they were re­ally chal­leng­ing.

You had a long list of dif­fer­ent al­bum ti­tles, but you didn’t want to colour it.

It felt like any ti­tle I gave it would pin it down to one of the many things that it is. Not giv­ing it a ti­tle felt more free, or felt like it could be big­ger. Loy­alty felt like a cool skele­ton key that un­locked as­pects of songs that you might not have no­ticed. But this one was like, I don’t want to be pinned down to one thing.

sounds. Nine­teen85 pro­vides a range of tem­pos and sounds for Da­ley to sing over through­out, which dis­plays how much dvsn have grown.

Da­ley demon­strates his vo­cal prow­ess on tracks such as “Mood” and “P.O.V.,” though lyri­cally, the group stick to the sta­ple R&B top­ics of love, sex and heart­break. More in­ter­est­ing lyrics would have re­ally set the al­bum apart, but that’s a small com­plaint. With the co­he­sive and cap­ti­vat­ing Morn­ing Af­ter, dvsn have used sooth­ing vo­cals and lay­ered beats to paint a sonic por­trait of mod­ern R&B. (OVO Sound, ovosound.com) MOD­ERN COM­PO­SI­TION

Es­mer­ine

Me­chan­ics of Do­min­ion

A se­quel of sorts to 2015’s Lost Voices,

Es­mer­ine’s lat­est of­fers a dy­namic re­sponse to the dire state of the world we’re bound to in eight cross­over cham­ber pieces. “The Space in Be­tween” sets the tone with a dra­matic neo­clas­si­cal lament, the ti­tle evok­ing the mount­ing fre­quency of so-called nat­u­ral dis­as­ters. The piece rolls out like a sound­track for cli­mate change, at first plod­ding then hurtling, pas­sages re­flect­ing a world spun out of con­trol. “La Lucha Es Una Sola” echoes its som­bre en­vi­ron­ment in its de­pressed drones, but if this is the be­gin­ning of the end, there’s the sug­ges­tion of hope in a twin­kling mu­sic box, and as a cu­ri­ous marimba starts to bub­ble un­der­neath it all, a trum­pet­ing horn and ten­sion-shat­ter­ing drums march steadily on­ward. While cast­ing a doubt­ful lens on de­struc­tive one-per­center pol­icy-mak­ing, the al­bum re­it­er­ates Lost Voices’ em­pha­sis on com­mu­nity and di­ver­sity, wel­com­ing a cast of guests — God­speed You! Black Em­peror vi­olin­ist So­phie Trudeau and al­bum en­gi­neer Jace Lasek (of Bes­nard Lakes) both make re­turn ap­pear­ances — larger than the team be­hind 2013’s Dal­mak, while the bulk of the al­bum ex­plores new sounds and in­stru­men­ta­tion. It’s a del­i­cate, cau­tious demon­stra­tion, but Me­chan­ics of Do­min­ion is a bold, grip­ping and bril­liantly nu­anced ad­di­tion to Es­mer­ine’s gor­geous cat­a­logue. (Con­stel­la­tion, cstrecords.com)

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