A Singer Must Die (Pheromone)
Performing with an orchestra is bound to bring out theatrics in even the most subdued of singers, and nasal-voiced former Barenaked Lady Steven Page was never very subdued to begin with. Mix in a classical ensemble with a proclivity for busy, overpowering arrangements and, well, you get a batch of perfectly good pop songs perfectly ruined.
For this collaboration (Page’s first release since splitting with the Ladies), he covers his favourites, and his choices are inspired. Tunes by the Weakerthans, the Magnetic Fields and the Mountain Goats all make the cut. But he’s gone for a Big Voice approach that’s as melodramatic as the orchestration, particularly on Elvis Costello’s I Want You, Jane Siberry’s The Taxi Ride and Radiohead’s Paranoid Android.
The troubled singer hasn’t had any easy go of things lately. Here’s hoping his forthcoming solo album finds him getting back to basics.
Top track: Tonight We Fly, by the Divine Comedy
Art of Time Ensemble with Steven Page play Koerner Hall March 4.