Tall Tall Shadow (Secret City)
Basia Bulat has the kind of voice that works its way through your ears to take up residence somewhere in your heart. Aside from the fundamental beauty of her vocals, the raw emotion in every note creates a sense of intimacy – a quality that strongly informs her third full-length. Recorded with Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury and producer Mark Lawson (The Suburbs) after the death of a close friend, the album’s 10 tracks strip away some of the embellishments of her previous work in sparser arrangements that keep the focus on the very personal storytelling.
With its organ-driven melody and punchy percussion, the title track is one of the best tunes Bulat’s ever written, its chorus a quietly devastating reminder: “You can’t run away/If the shadow is yours.” Whether effervescent (the poppy Promise Not To Think About Love zips along on handclaps and a jaunty bass line) or solemn (elegiac closing track From Now On), her modern take on folk music often delves into the darkness, but always looks toward the light.
Top track: Tall Tall Shadow
Basia Bulat plays the Polish Combatants’ Hall October 10, 11 and 12.