Monday, January 11th, 2010
Review of Basia Bulat’s Heart Of My Own and giveaway
Jenna WakaniSince first seeing her in a little basement pub at Pop Montreal 2006, it’s been a real treat watching Basia Bulat’s career blossom. 2007 saw her gig relentlessly – I saw her a half-dozen times and wasn’t even really trying – and release her debut Oh, My Darling to much acclaim both at home and abroad and earn a place both in my favourites of the year and the almost-as-prestigious 2008 Polaris Music Prize shortlist. As debuts go, it yielded a pretty good narrative and so it’s not surprising that the follow-up, Heart Of My Own, takes what worked best and builds on that.
Whereas Darling has it’s share of bigger, more orchestrated numbers, it was evident that the songs had started out more homespun, and a few of them simply grew into something more grandiose. it’s notable that rollicking single “In The Night” didn’t appear on the initial European tracklisting but would be regularly held up as a high point in reviews of the North American edition. Heart follows that trajectory, clearly benefiting from the constant touring as a full band, with all the instruments, voices and ideas that came with it.
Utilizing many of the same players and again recorded under producer Howard Billerman’s auspices, Heart maintains the sweetness of Darling, but delivers it with considerably more sophistication, exuberance and sass. The rhythms, arrangements and textures at play are all considerably more complex without sacrificing any of the simplicity that’s at the heart of Bulat’s appeal. That sense of growth also applies lyrically – where Darling‘s protagonist was very much the ingenue, Heart finds her older and wiser; not necessarily more cynical, but certainly more experienced. Oh, My Darling was the first, impressive step from an artist with a clear vision of the sort of folk-pop she wanted to create; Heart Of My Own offers no creative left turns, just a determined, confident stride forward. It’s simply what comes next.
Heart Of My Own is out on January 26 and Basia Bulat has a show at Trinity-St. Paul’s this Saturday night, January 16. Tickets are $20 in advance but courtesy of Secret City, I have a pair of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Basia Bulat” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, January 13.
Sadly, the Charlotte Gainsbourg show at the Phoenix January 26 announced just last week has been cancelled. No reason has been given and other dates on her North American tour still appear to be a go, so one can only surmise that there’s a conflict with something else, or she has a hate-on for Toronto. Her new record IRM is still out that day and The Guardian has an interview.
Bjork’s recent concert film Voltaic, documenting shows in Paris and Reykjavik, will be getting a theatrical screening in Toronto on January 22 at the Acacia Centre, formerly the Golden Classics Cinema in Chinatown. Tickets are $10 in advance at Soundscapes, Queen Video and online.