Sunday, January 20, 2013

Amelia Curran – Spectators

Six Shooter Records

Spectators is the third stunning album in a row from Amelia Curran, one of the finest singer-songwriters to emerge in Canada in recent years – and certainly the finest singer-songwriter to emerge from Newfoundland since Ron Hynes.

Like Hunter, Hunter and War Brides, Spectators is filled with beautiful melodies, compelling arrangements built around Amelia’s acoustic guitar and lovely voice and lyrics which reveal more each time they’re listened to. If there’s a departure from the previous albums, it’s in the somewhat more expansive use of tonal colouring including very effective brass and string sections on a couple of songs each.

Among my favourite songs are “The Modern Man,” a Cohenesque contemplation on mortality and accomplishment, “San Andreas Fault,” in which Amelia examines a seemingly-fragile relationship in the first person, and “In a Town (200 Days),” which captures the spirit of human resiliency in the face of challenge.

But, perhaps, the most poignant song is the album’s finale, “Face on the News,” a quiet, poetic reflection on perspective and human struggle.

If I’ve any complaint – and I could have made the same complaint about Amelia’s previous two albums – is that I really wish she’d included lyrics in the CD package or at least on her website. These are songs with lyrics which should be followed closely while listening and reread again and again as these are songs which reveal more each time they’re heard – and, in many cases, these are songs which are open to interpretation and reinterpretation.

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--Mike Regenstreif

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