Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Reviews:: All Their broken hearts - a Paperheart Tribute to Julie Doiron

Download the entire record from Paperheart Music

It's amazing how an artist can struggle for years in their own country, trying desperately to sell records and fill tiny clubs, and at the same time can be an icon over seas. In a perfect Dominique Wilkins style follow up to Shane's Thrush Hermit tribute record, I wanted to revisit All Their Broken Hearts - a Paperheart tribute to Julie Doiron.

Like the title says, the Belgium based record label collected a huge group of artists to record some of Julie's best songs (circa 2003) and the results are terrific. Hitting on almost every one of her records - fans of Desormais are going to be disappointed - the mix of lo-fi and love showcases why people melt when Julie takes center stage and how the charming performer has grown in popularity over the last 10 years.

I know it's hard to imagine passing Julie's thoughts, fears, heartache and admissions through anyone else's eyes, as the honesty and intimacy of her words are what makes her so special, but these bands treat the songs with the attention they deserve. Obviously, most of these small Belgium bands are relatively unfamiliar to me, but the simple strums, creaky vocals, electro-fused blips and sincere admiration the artists have for Doiron really make the effort something special.

Some of the highlights include Superxxman's take of Sweeter. The song starts as a timid confessional, but he slowly adds harmonies, electronic textures and undercurrents and a beautiful, piercing piano line. Naturally, long time friends/collaborators Snailhouse and Rick White show up and put their spin on Again, Again and Dirty Feet, and the familiarity they share really helps them rework the tracks.

But it's really the fact the tracks stand apart from the originals that make the record work. The layered mass and soaring harmonies of Gone, Gone (courtesy of Mark Raymond) shows the bands are not above taking big risks with the material, and In All Her Sincerity sounds like an indie/electro fused track that could have been written last year, not almost 6 years ago. The lonely banjo notes and cold duet that Orange Glass use to rework Five are powerful in their desolation and the elctro snaps are rock solid. The same can be said of the blips and Melachromes add to The Last Time or Wio uses to spruce up I'm Sorry Part 1.

Overall, there little to find fault with on this record, as it's still as enjoyable today as it was in '03, maybe more so now that you can download every song for free. But honestly, when the DIY tape hiss that dominates Loïc B.o.'s take on Annoyed By comes on, you can't help but think about how Julie's catalog has inspired musicians while they tinker away in a bedroom or shitty jam space.

Posted at 1:18 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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