Are You In Love?
Secret City Records
Basia Bulat’s recent release Are You In Love? would have been best served opening with its second track “Electric Roses”. The album instead opens in a Broadway style with the title track that seems atypical of Jim James’s production style. Although curious and well-executed, Are You In Love? simply doesn’t steal the show as an opener.
“Electric Roses” invites you into Bulat’s creative world of wonder and perfectly sets the stage for some amazing songs to follow. The song’s wide-open ambiance and exceptional writing rolls out beautifully with haunting layers of organs, autoharp, and strings that pull you deep into this intricately crafted album.
Although the lead single ‘Your Girl’ has danceable upbeat groove and cool instrumentation, the use of metaphoric love lyrics of such as “since you left behind a hurricane” or “Broken glass and broken hearts today” seem far from creative and fall on the flat side.
In a classic Jim James house-of-horrors style, “Hall of Mirrors” feels like a creepy carnival orchestrated with ominous organs and a mysterious autoharp. This tune is one of the dark horse hidden gems of the record and one of my favourites.
“Already Forgiven” is layered with sweet acoustic fingerpicking wrapped in a beautiful string section. The vocals and lyrics are delicate and alluring, taking the audience on an emotional odyssey. It acts as a perfect precursor to “The Last Time”, a crisp mid-tempo ballad with a familiar My Morning Jacket sound that gets heavier as the song rolls on. The song gets dirty at the 1:52 mark with some big tube amp overdrive tones to drive it home.
Concluding this diverse release, “Love Is At The End Of The World” comes out strong, opening with simple organs and vocals, eventually building up to a full band., It concludes with a punishing sonic assault where the band drops in with heavy drums, giant pianos, layers of strings, and a huge screaming guitar solo.
Basia Bulat comes away with a strong release here, although it wasn’t clear of minor criticism on the lyrical and writing side, it’s most definitely an album worthy of Sunday morning coffee or an afternoon chill out.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: BASIA BULAT – ARE YOU IN LOVE?