Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reviews:: Tiiu Shooting Stars, Blazing Hearts


If you wanted to make a snap decision, you could probably assume Tiiu was worth a listen with a quick glance at the people that helped her out on her new record, Shooting Stars, Blazing Hearts.

Her roommate - Juno award winning Serena Ryder - provided back up vocals on countless tracks and she worked hand-in-hand with Michael Brooks and former Rheostatic and Ron Sexsmith collaborator Don Kerr. Even Ottawa darling Meredith Luce showed up to sing with her on a track.

You'd be naïve if you thought such skilled musicians would attach their name to a second rate project, but would be wrong to assume they dominate this record. Without question, Tiiu's voice is front and center on every track. She opens with Kneeling For You Now, a song with beautiful vocal harmonies (provided by Kerr and Luce and Dave Gaudet), pedal steel and glock, but it's Tiiu grabs the spotlight. Her confession to her lover is remarkably honest, admitting that she thought she might be able to do better. It took time and now she wished she hadn't looked past what was right in front of her, but realizing that she's ready to commit. It's a remarkably male trait, one you wouldn't expect form such an honest female perspective, but it works well.

Shooting Stars, Blazing Hearts might not stand out as anything new (although the gritty album closer More Than One is a shocker) on the first few listens, but Tiiu isn't afraid to put her spin on established sounds and textures. She is engaging and comforting as a performer and it's hard to find fault in a record that floats by so nicely. She doesn't try to force drastic tempo changes, opting to play to her strengths, but she adds enough variance to keep the record from blending. The gentle bounce of Next To You (if you stripped out the rootsy arrangement of course) almost sounds like a beat K-OS would use and letting Brooks add electric guitar feedback to songs like the title track provides more than enough change-ups to keep you listening.

She's able to command your ear over the sparest arrangement (Good Rain), but her voice is strong enough to stand out even with layers of backing vocals, bass, electric/steel, and brushed drums (the ironically titled Sleepy Sunday Town or the ear pleasing Resting Place). Bluesy folk is something lots of people can pull off for a song or two, but to deliver a record that plays without a single misstep speaks louder than who Tiiu got to help her out.


Tiiu - Kneeling For You Now
Tiiu - Next to You

Posted at 3:19 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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