It’s inevitable really. Living in a city with few economic certainties means that as summer draws to a close, people leave the comforts of their college days behind. Reality, it’s the train ticket you book when it’s time to pack the spindle bin and see what comes next. For Crissi Cochrane, this summer finds her leaving behind the city she called home, her song writing alias, her bedroom/bathroom style recordings and looking forward to the rest of her life.
With the release of Darling, Darling, Cochrane embraces these changes and leaves behind a surprisingly mature and seasoned release. Strings, mandolin and percussion are added to the arrangements thanks to producer Mike Kinsella – yes, THAT Mike Kinsella – and songs that have grown with Cochrane over her years in Halifax get a final treatment that will hit friends and fans with a sense of nostalgia each time the LP plays. It’s hard to imagine a song more fitting for where she is than “Coming Home”, but as Cochrane looks back at people, places and moments she holds dear over some gentle pics and plucks and a mandolin, it’s as if she gets to say goodbye in the most personal manner possible.
But Darling, Darling isn’t only about looking back. The eight songs are more mature than any 21-year old has the right to be and hint at a talent big enough to start a career. The country-pop feel on “So Far Apart”, starts the record off on a strong note, but thanks to her soothing voice and gentle pics (and the album’s short run time), she manages to avoid any setbacks or letdowns. Even when she touches on traditional subject matter – love, heartbreak, wine – or slows the pace nothing ever seems forced or disingenuous. She transforms the confession filled “Kinda Late” and the slow moving “Elevators” with beautiful string arrangement that let the songs take flight but keeps the record feeling light and whimsical.
It would be easy to gush and force unrealistic career projection on the young singer, but the music business is a hard road to travel. What I can say is that Darling, Darling finds Cochrane taken the first step, and putting her best foot forward. This record might be a goodbye to a time we all hold dear, but it’s one filled with smiles. It’s raised glasses and heartfelt hugs, not tears of sadness. The record would be worth buying just for the title track, an almost seven minute number that has Kinsella’s signature all over it, and could easily be worked into an Owen set, but for long time fans, the evolution of “Mexico” is something to behold, and little moments like the spirited percussion of “Lonely For Me” show that Cochrane’s time in Halifax has been a productive one. Now, much like Crissi, all we can do I wonder what comes next.