Friday, October 04, 2013

Basia Bulat: "Tall Tall Shadow" (album review)

I've always found Basia Bulat to be an all or nothing experience.  Her music can either be momentous...or it can be a monumental waste of time.  There's very little middle ground for me.

That holds true on her brand new studio album Tall Tall Shadow, which came out this week.

The strongest songs come when Bulat unleashes her charming and versatile voice.  She does that on the title track, a cut that eases you in, growing organically into a show-stopper.


Handclaps make "Promise Not To Think About Love" connect instantly, and helps propel it into your brain.  "Wires" is a full-bodied number that puts some welcome oomph into the folk-rock genre.

On the other end of the spectrum are tracks like "It Can't Be You".  The songs consists of only Bulat's vocals and a pluck charango, both of which become incredibly grating by the song's end.  A Renaissance Fair vibe on "Five, Four" keeps you a little too off-kilter.  "Never To Me Go" and "Paris Or Amsterdam" are simply bland.  There's potential in the dark, brooding "The City With No Rivers", but it never quite connects as well as you would hope.

At this point you probably know what you're getting into with Bulat.  You can love her or hate her.  I know I do...and that's just over the course of an album.

Basia Bulat plays the Polish Combatants Hall in Toronto on October 10-12th.

Best tracks: "Tall Tall Shadow", "Promise Not To Think About Love"

Track listing for Tall Tall Shadow:
  • Tall Tall Shadow
  • Five, Four
  • Promise Not To Think About Love
  • It Can't Be You
  • Wires
  • The City With No Rivers
  • Someone
  • Paris Or Amsterdam
  • Never Let Me Go
  • From Now On
6.5/10

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