Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Reviews:: Basia Bulat Oh, My Darling

This has been a long time coming, but I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Basia's debut record - Oh, My Darling - was beginning to be the Canad-indie form of Chinese Democracy. Despite the excitement from impatient Canadian fans, the record suffered from countless delays (but to be fair, unlike Axl and his terrible white guy corn rows, Basia opts to be cute-as-a-button and wear a floppy hat). Well, the record is finally out here on home soil, courtesy of Hardwood Records.

Oh, My Darling is as close to a perfect folk record as you can imagine for someone at such a tender age. Her voice is mature and her song writing ability is well beyond her years. When the ukulele starts Before I Knew, you are instantly intrigued and when the three part harmony hits you, well, like she sings "it's the first time you fall in love."

If you took any immediate, default criticism about an album, Basia smashes them all right out of the gate. Too long? Somehow her 13 songs come in at just over 35 minutes and leaves you aching for more. How many folk artists rely on one riff, one sound? Basia varies tempo, arrangements and is able to expand the sound - like the soaring strings, dancing piano and rapid fire drums on Snakes and Ladders - or shrink back into a confessional, intimate track like Oh, My Darling that uses a guitar and harmonica and the occasional backing harmonies. She mixes jazz, folk and enough honest country to appeal to not just any one, but every one.

She's got the unique ability to perfectly match her emotion with the varying rhythms and sounds she dabbles with. The frenzied hand clap that shocks you on I Was a Daughter is the type of thing you wouldn't expect, but it is matched with drums and nice violin work, all of which set the stage for her vocals. Her charisma shines over the tribal swoon of La-Da-Da, as she slides into the role of a traditional chanteuse.

She pays homage to some of the acts that came before her, like the Indigo Girls infused In the Night and the subtle influence of Tracy Chapman sparkles through when Basia sings over some lovely hand drumming on Why Can't It Be Mine. You could point to many influences (Joni Mitchell being one), but Basia tries to define her own voice and passes with flying colors.

I could sing her praises for hours, but the thing that really grabs me about the record is how unafraid Basia is. Never once does she worry about how people will digest her songs, instead she is playful and charming. If I could describe it in a simple scene, she'd be singing a song as she danced around her apartment in one-piece underwear (complete with feet) just do make you smile and feel better after a bad day. And you know what? She does… with every single note.
MP3:: I Was a Daughter

web site :: myspace

Posted at 1:02 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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