Achingly lovely and wildly atmospheric, Toronto singer/songwriter Mia Sheard's Reptilian disc is stunning. It's hard to know what's most affecting -- lyrics as dreamy as a Margaret Atwood poem or the quietly percolating orchestration provided by half the city's best players floating Sheard's crystal soprano to the surface.
One thing's certain -- the two combined are devastating, as Sheard spins near-gothic tales of sunless moments and broken-down dreams over bleached-out arrangements of strings, keyboards and a smorgasbord of weird noises.
Sure, it helps if you're married to Michael Phillip Wojewoda and he produces your record, but polish means nothing if the songs aren't already there. An obvious labour of love that pays off.