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Pink City (Idée Fixe)
We’re lucky Jennifer Castle is a Torontonian – we get to add more of her tunes to our city’s canon.
Despite lyrics about movement, travel and separation, Castle’s voice is more grounded than ever on her third studio album. Critics are right to note that she conjures Joni Mitchell in her vocal agility on songs like Sailing Away, but they do her a disservice by dwelling on the comparison or focusing on her ethereal, reverb-drenched pipes.
It’s hard to say what’s better here: the heady rush of hooky flute (care of Ryan Driver) swirling with pedal steel on feisty country rocker Sparta, or the album’s many intimate piano- and guitar-driven songs.
Castle has always left threads hanging in her work, but this times it always sounds intentional. She’s conversational, and playful when things threaten to become too melancholy (throat-clearing, water trickling, footsteps). Throw in some elegant, economical strings arranged by Owen Pallett and touches of harmonica, vibraphone and sax and you’ve got the best 32 minutes of music you’ll hear anytime soon.
Top track: Sailing Away