Quebecoise singer/songwriter Béatrice Martin, aka Coeur de Pirate, knows her way around a cover song (check out her slow-burn take on The Weeknd's Wicked Games for proof), so deciding to interpret a dozen classic and contemporary compositions for her first all-English release (which doubles as the soundtrack to the fifth season of Trauma, a popular Quebec TV drama) was a clever - if gutsy - move.
The sparse, almost spooky take on Bill Withers's classic Ain't No Sunshine sets the tone immediately - it's impossible not to recognize that instantly familiar melody, yet Martin manages to draw out its inherent melancholy. The modern selections are well chosen, too - a bare-bones piano ballad version of Amy Winehouse's You Know I'm No Good captures the spirit of the original while maintaining Martin's distinctive chanson stamp. The relentlessly spartan production, featuring little more than acoustic guitar and piano, works well with Martin's girlish croon but ends up making every track sound similar - ultimately an odd choice for such a diverse array of covers.
Top track: You Know I'm No Good