Release Date: Sep 30, 2013
Record label: Secret City Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Basia Bulat‘s debut album in 2007, Oh My Darling, was a bit of an undiscovered gem. Low-key without being lo-fi, it was full of intimate love songs that were beautifully crafted but with an unconventional edge. 2010’s Heart Of My Own tried to repeat the trick, but the songs were lacking that time round. Three years later, she’s back again but with her finest album.
Basia Bulat has the kind of voice that works its way through your ears to take up residence somewhere in your heart. Aside from the fundamental beauty of her vocals, the raw emotion in every note creates a sense of intimacy - a quality that strongly informs her third full-length. Recorded with Arcade Fire's Tim Kingsbury and producer Mark Lawson (The Suburbs) after the death of a close friend, the album's 10 tracks strip away some of the embellishments of her previous work in sparser arrangements that keep the focus on the very personal storytelling.
2010?s Heart of My Own saw Basia Bulat expand her sound world from the confines of folk and folk instruments to choirs and strings while maintaining a folk sensibility in the album as a whole. According to Bulat herself, Tall Tall Shadow finds her further “exploring the boundaries of folk music some people know me for”. Produced by Bulat together with Mark Lawson (responsible for Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs) and Tim Kingsbury (of the ‘Fire themselves) what emerges here is a brilliant and engaging pop record, songs of loss and optimism, the whole thing infused with Bulat’s strong and mesmerising voice, and arrangements – typically built around piano, guitar, electric autoharp and Andean charango that grab you instantly but reveal a lyrical and sonic depth behind them to maintain your interest.
On her third offering in six years, Basia Bulat has evolved from being an intimate, folk-oriented Canadian songwriter to swinging for the indie pop fences. On Tall Tall Shadow she embraces a bright, expansive, dynamic soundscape, where her heretofore trademark autoharp has been all but left in the corner. Co-produced by the artist with fellow Canadians Tim Kingsbury of Arcade Fire and engineer Mark Lawson, and mixed alternately by Lawson and Howard Bilerman (Bulat's former producer), these ten songs reveal true musical growth, as hooks and infectious melodies abound.
Plenty of attention is paid to the distinct, honeyed vibrato of Toronto, ON-raised folk artist Basia Bulat, and with good reason. Since the release of her debut LP, Oh, My Darling in 2007, Bulat's voice has emerged above an eclectic mix of sounds, from handclaps to organ sighs, auto-harp trills and percussive swells. Tall Tall Shadow (the long-awaited follow-up to 2010's Heart of My Own) sees Bulat lifting her voice once again — high above the fussy introduction of electronic elements — to a place where joy and despair mingle in heady measures.
Basia Bulat Tall Tall Shadow (Secret City) Canadian folksinger Basia Bulat's smoky pipes can lilt just as closely to Adele as latter-day Joni Mitchell. Her third full-length Tall Tall Shadow undulates between extremes, too, rolling radio-ready adult alternative and acoustic traditionalism. Faring better with the organic, Bulat thrives on "It Can't Be You," accompanied by a lightning-picked charango.
She may possess the voice of a forlorn folkie — think Kate Bush entwined with Sandy Denny — but Basia Bulat is as far from a willowy troubadour as Miley Cyrus is to modesty. On this, her third album to date, the Canadian chanteuse offers up a series of deceptively delicate entreaties that quickly give way to the sort of emphatic rhythms and boisterous melodies that reflect an unmistakably bold confidence. The title track, “Tall Tall Shadows,” provides an ideal entry, Bulat’s high-pitched vocal transformed from a waif-like warble into a brash refrain that all but guarantees an indelible impression.