Release Date: Sep 2, 2014
Record label: No Quarter
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
We're lucky Jennifer Castle is a Torontonian - we get to add more of her tunes to our city's canon. Despite lyrics about movement, travel and separation, Castle's voice is more grounded than ever on her third studio album. Critics are right to note that she conjures Joni Mitchell in her vocal agility on songs like Sailing Away, but they do her a disservice by dwelling on the comparison or focusing on her ethereal, reverb-drenched pipes.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. The colourful oxymoronic names of both Jennifer Castle and her second solo album, Pink City, are excellent windows into the music she conjures. 'Conjure' is definitely the right word here: there is a consistent element of the fantastic throughout, which is occasionally punctured by the everyday. It's a bit like being lulled into a daydream until your elbow slips off the desk, jolting you back to reality, but without the uncomfortably furtive glance around the office to see if anyone saw your mishap.
World, meet what is possibly the heir to Joni Mitchell’s crown in the form of Toronto singer-songwriter Jennifer Castle. Jennifer Castle, meet the world. Pink City, Castle’s technically sophomore album, though she released two albums previously under the Castlemusic moniker, is a knock-out. Surrounding herself with the likes of Owen Pallett, who provides provides string arrangements for a number of songs, including “Truth is the Freshest Fruit” and “Like a Gun”, and American folk musician Kath Bloom, who plays harmonica on “Down River”, Pink City is a consistently engaging effort.
There are some artists that seem to exist on a separate plane from the rest of us. They observe, they connect and they see the world surrounding them with a deeply-felt clarity and acuity. Jennifer Castle is one of these artists. On this full-length follow-up to 2011's acclaimed Castlemusic, the Toronto-based folksinger once again gives us a brief window into her world, one that's entwined with the dark, ineffable push and pull of nature, love and the complicated creatures — human and animal — that surround her.Pink City kicks off with "Truth is the Freshest Fruit," a rumination on summer love in the shadow of the Summer of Love, where hearts could be found in San Francisco and your lover's birth month carried a heavy weight.
Jennifer Castle is an enigma hiding in plain sight. On the surface, she’s a Canadian singer/songwriter like so many others, often performing with just a guitar and a stool, singing songs that conjure bygone country, folk, and blues traditions and that are lyrically steeped in richly detailed agrarian scenery and the travails of being a working mom. But Castle’s music is not so much of the earth as floating above it, untethered to the natural order of time and space and often eschewing typical verse/chorus/verse structure to roam according to its own wandering spirit.
Jennifer Castle has a delicate, fluttery voice, breathy at the top end but full of warm certainty at the bottom. It’s the kind of voice that reminds you, a little bit, of her fellow Canadian Anne Murray, sweet with trilling vibrato but unsentimental, as she moves lightly from idea to idea. Pink City is a very pretty album, though in a restrained way.