Release Date: Jan 26, 2010
Record label: Secert City
Genre(s): Indie, Pop, Folk
If you slept on Bulat’s 2007 debut, Oh, My Darling, don’t fret—lots of folks did. But by doing so, you missed out on one of that year’s most underrated debuts. Bulat showed a knack for simple yet pleasantly sufficient folk-pop songs, where the autoharp and the dulcimer were her primary instruments. But really, it’s Bulat’s vibrato, which returns here in fine form.
‘Run’, the second track on A Heart of My Own, is wonderful; a waltzing procession of jangly guitars and see-saw string arpeggios which nail the stomach-churn and smile of difficult love. Male music fans of a certain disposition have a propensity to fall in love with female singers in the three-four minutes it takes for a perfect song to be sung, and for those who have had such an experience listening to Joanna Newsom or Scout Niblett, this track will elicit similar Technicolor daydreams. Rough Trade’s new discovery from Canada, Basia Bulat, shares the tumultuous reading of the heart and the baroque disposition of Newsom, but is tempered by the kitchen-sinkisms of folk.
Following her 2007 debut, Oh, My Darling, Basia Bulat’s gospel-folk reputation precedes her, but Bulat decimates any idea of a sophomore slump with a swift strum of her autoharp on Heart of My Own. Replete with the warbling vocals that we’ve come to know, Bulat builds on Oh, My Darling’s hopeful hollowness by burrowing deeper into the recesses of old-country sound and isolation -- isolation that came while on a year-long tour for Oh, My Darling, specifically by a few reflective days spent in the mountains of the Yukon. Undoubtedly inspired by Bulat’s stay in Dawson City, the site of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1896, single “Gold Rush” begins with foreboding strings but quickly morphs into a rushing, Balkan-tinged track for which she did a DUMBO Session.
‘Folk music’ means different things to different people. For some, it’s the revelation of social, political, or cultural phenomena through simple and overwhelmingly acoustic musical and lyrical forms. For others, it’s merely a style focused solely on the aforementioned sound, but meandering in its narrative. In the indie music world, nearly all ‘folk’ artists fall into this latter category, with their generation-defining futuristic scope and DIY-D (do it yourself — digitally) attitude toward recording.
Toronto native Basia Bulat won some deserved attention, including a Polaris prize nomination and a spot on the idiosyncratic Rough Trade roster, with her 2007 debut LP, Oh My Darling. Stylistically diverse-- almost to a fault-- the record proved Bulat to be as comfortable with lilting waltz-time folk as jazz-cadenced pop as licensable indie catnip. Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, British Sea Power) worked with Bulat, and though they at times nudged the taste needle with torrid pianos and flowery strings, Darling successfully balanced slick studio intervention with a charming handmade rustle and clatter (not to mention a lot of enthusiastic handclapping).
Written during a quick visit to the Yukon Territory, Heart of My Own jumps from sparse, intimate folk to lush Americana, with each song conjuring up images of the striking subarctic geography that inspired it. Basia Bulat was virtually unknown when she issued her debut album in 2007, and this follow-up effort (released after two years of heavy touring) paints her as a more self-assured, worldly songwriter. The shaking quality of her voice has been molded into a quick, informal vibrato, and producer Howard Bilerman -- the same man who produced 2007’s Oh, My Darling -- decorates her songs with rootsy arrangements, the most ornate of which feature percussion, multiple stringed instruments, horns, and piano.
Toronto songstress Basia Bulat turned heads with her 2007 debut, Oh, My Darling, an old soul's indie folk album with shades of Lilith and Vanity fare. Her unmistakable voice – a trembling, expressive contralto – remains a make-or-break feature, but she's learned when to reel it in on follow-up Heart of My Own. That heightened control makes for a more confident and dramatic affair, especially when accented by the sweeping arrangements of returning producer and former Arcade Fireman Howard Bilerman.
Canadian singer/songwriter Basia Bulat created something of a stir within the folk community when her 2007 album, Oh, My Darling, dropped to considerable acclaim. Equipped with an emotive voice and some dazzling capabilities on the autoharp, the tender intimacy of Bulat’s debut helped her to garnered not only a record deal with Britain’s Rough Trade label, but also a nomination for Canada’s prestigious Polaris Music Prize. Her second full-length arrives after more than a year of nonstop touring across three continents.
A patchy, but sporadically wonderful album from the Canadian singer. James Skinner 2010 On her debut album Oh, My Darling, Basia Bulat put her best foot forward and opened with Before I Knew, a breezy, banjo-led paean to first love. With her second she eschews this light touch in favour of the blustery, galloping Go On, which finds her in far more seasoned, retaliatory form.