In these parts, it’s an all too common story. A musician finds their groove and departs for the bigger, more fertile grounds of Montreal or Toronto. For every Jenn Grant or Joel Plaskett, there are ten bands that broke up or left Canada’s ocean playground behind like it was a sinking ship, hoping that the bigger, less accessible scenes would be the ticket to more shows and more fans.
For Gianna Lauren, the intimacy and community the North End provides were the reasons she made the journey to Halifax from Edmonton and honestly, the transition and alienation of finding herself in a new city works nicely alongside the hurt and longing she offers up on the perfectly titled, “Some Move Closer, Some Move On.” Over the last few years, Lauren has integrated herself in the community, befriending talented locals and even contributing to their records and SMC,SMO - out October 12 on Forward Music - shows them repaying the favor.
Thanks to well crafted collages built from Gianna’s guitar and Dan Ledwell‘s multi-instrumentation and deft production (with extra help from Andrew Sisk and Kinley Dowling), Some Move Closer, Some Move On is a slow burning, moody journey filled with lonely spaces, surprising tempo changes and tender warmth. Spare arrangements draw you close, but Lauren is inventive and the subtle transitions she offers up keep the record shifting and the listener engaged.
And while each melody channels vivid emotion, undoubtedly the star of the show are Gianna’s smoky vocals. The gunshot rhythms and sexy slink of the strings of “Le Vent Marin” give Gianna the platform to stand out front of the mix as a sultry front woman, but her voice is so crisp and precise that she can bend her sound to fit a staggering range. She handles pop songs that could find a home on any of the countless Grey’s Anatomy spin-offs (“June”), darker textures (“Be Nice’) and more traditional folk arrangements (“Waiting” and the timeless opener, “Become What You Can’t Be”), but is just as comfortable with more brooding, stripped down numbers like “Stowaway.” In fact, the high note of the record might just be the multi-layered vocal A cappella track, “Oh Feather”, a song that plays like an understated “Hide and Seek” and could push this newly christened Haligonian, a woman that wanted nothing more than a small scene to settle into, a much bigger National audience.
And while you are at it, you might as well enter our contest to see Gianna open for The Acorn on Sept 15th.
MP3:: Gianna Lauren - Become What You Can’t Be