Depend On This (Songmill)
Old fans might find Ruth Minnikin’s new album uncomfortably strange. Best known for her alt-country leanings – in work with the Guthries and her earlier solo efforts – the Halifax native stretches herself into experimental, orchestral pop territory that’s a little closer to her other former band, the Heavy Blinkers.
The album is split into two halves, with the six songs in its first half artfully reinterpreted in its second, using different musicians (17 in total), orchestration (23 instruments, plus a men’s choir) and producers (three). Waltzing tempos, European folk flavours and baroque arrangements eventually give way to sputtering electronic beats, cerebral, looping vocal lines and dark minimalism.
The constant is Minnikin’s effortless alto, as casual and unpretentious as ever, though here it reaches high into its upper register with results as impressive as this bold new direction.
Top track: Four Churches I
Ruth Minnikin plays the Cadillac Lounge on March 10 as part of CMW.