Friday, September 4, 2009

Reviews:: Amelia Curran Hunter, Hunter

We’ve said it a million times; Halifax is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to talented female song writers. It’s a crime that Jenn Grant’s new record hasn’t been deemed required listening, but with people like Rose Cousins, Jill Barber (we miss you here), Erin Costelo, Christina Martin and Ruth Minnikin running alongside her, it’s almost understandable how she gets lost in the shuffle.

But the most overlooked name, considering her talent, is Amelia Curran. The Haligonian resident by way of Newfoundland has been writing beautiful songs for years and even after signing to the indie label Six Shooter Records, she almost never seems to be included in the discussion. I'd like to think that will change, especially after she returned to her hometown and channeled the energy of St. John's to help create her strongest record to date.

Her new LP - Hunter, Hunter is as honest a look at the human soul as one could envision. Curran refuses to submerge her doubts or flaws, instead inviting you inside to embrace the stark honesty and admissions of who she really is. Her emotions are never scaled back and she never tries to present a situation in a way that makes her look better. The heartbreak of her lover getting over her and leaving her doubting true love (Love's Last Regard) could knock the wind from your lungs if the harmonies and strings weren't so beautiful. Even the "single" for the release – the slowed down take on Curran classic, The Mistress - is riddled with doubt, uncertainty and inpurity, but what makes the track work is the subtle confidence in the fact Curran finally realizes that everyone is f*cked up, not just her.

From start to finish, Hunter, Hunter exposes sounds and emotions that are as comforting as they are stark. Everyone has felt crazy, lost, hurt and sad and the simple strum patterns and well placed harmonies help Curran wraps these thoughts in help her shift from classic folk (Hands On A Grain Of Sand, Julia) to a playful slink (the stand-up bass heavy The Company Store or The Dozens) without losing your attention. The instrumentation she adds fits perfectly into the emotion - the deep kettle drum sound and harmonies fills up All Me is a perfect example - and show how complete these songs are.

It’s almost painful to end a review with a cliche, especially when someone is as truthful and original as Curran, but she truly saves the best for last on this release. The closer - Last Call – sounds almost like Amelia covering an Avett Brothers tracks (or maybe a female, Halifax based companion to their moving to Brooklyn tale, I and Love and You). The way her voice rises at the end of the lines, and weight of the simply presented emotions melts your heart. It’s the type of song that should be played in films and on the radio. More importantly, it’s the type of song that should finally bring Amelia Curran the attention she deserves.

For all our loyal Halifax readers, Curran is going to be here playing three shows with label mate (and terrific song writer in her own right) Melissa McClelland (read our review of her new record here) @ the Company House. She plays Saturday, Sunday AM and now Sunday evening as well so please, do yourself a favor and take in one of the shows.

MP3:: Amelia Curran - The Mistress

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Posted at 10:30 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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