It’s hard not to admire Emm Gryner for sticking to her fiercely DIY roots since first breaking out in the Toronto scene in the 90s. But that indie ethos wouldn’t mean much without the songs to back it up. Over a dozen albums into a career that’s included gigging with Bowie and being lauded by Bono, Gryner continues to hone her trademark effervescent indie pop and hushed bedroom folk.
Her involvement in Canadiana trio Trent Severn seems to have influenced more than a few tunes, including banjo-boosted lead track Pioneer, which somehow makes chucking your cellphone in a river sound appealing. There’s a welcome new directness to Gryner’s impressionistic lyrics, particularly on So Easy, a buoyant duet with astronaut Chris Hadfield. The song’s strummy vibe contrasts sharply with the lyrics’ real talk about depression and friendship. That’s Gryner’s ace: getting you thinking and humming at the same time.
Top track: So Easy
Emm Gryner plays the Rivoli April 17.