Voyageur

Album Review of Voyageur by Kathleen Edwards.

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Voyageur

Kathleen Edwards

Voyageur by Kathleen Edwards

Release Date: Jan 17, 2012
Record label: Rounder
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

74 Music Critic Score
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Voyageur - Very Good, Based on 15 Critics

Rolling Stone - 100
Based on rating 5/5
100

Maybe it's her recent divorce, or maybe it's her subsequent hook-up with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, but Canadian folkie Kathleen Edwards has given her sound a makeover on her fourth album. With Vernon co-producing, Edwards augments the coffeehouse sparseness of her writerly earlier albums with shimmery surfaces, whoosh-y hovering-spaceship bleeps and gently padding beats, which lend her songs an exquisite, widescreen beauty. Whether she's chronicling the breakup of her marriage (the seven-minute dirge "For the Record") or reveling in her new one (the trash-can-beat kickiness of "Sidecar"), Voyageur is the rare post-breakup album that cozies up to the future rather than lashing out at the past.

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Entertainment Weekly - 86
Based on rating A-
86

On her fourth album, the well-traveled Ottawa ? native enlists Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon to swaddle her twangy melodies in womblike warmth. That dichotomy perfectly captures her struggle between romantic wanderlust and cold comfort, best expressed on the album’s first track: ”I’m moving to ­America,” Edwards coos, before adding the kicker ”It’s an empty threat.” Voyageur is gorgeously weathered ­heartbreak, straight from the gravelliest Ontario roads. A? Best Tracks:Jaunty opener Empty ThreatBluesy dirge Mint .

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NOW Magazine - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

KATHLEEN EDWARDS plays the Phoenix on February 11. See listing. Rating: NNNN How you feel about Kathleen Edwards's Voyageur depends a lot on the expectations you bring to it. Ever since the news got out that Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, had come aboard as co-producer, the buzz about Edwards and her fourth album has reached circles far beyond the alt-country one to which she once belonged.

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Beats Per Minute (formerly One Thirty BPM) - 76
Based on rating 76%%
76

Kathleen EdwardsVoyageur[Rounder Records/Maple Music; 2012]By Johan Alm; January 20, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetKathleen Edwards has been releasing quality records for almost a decade, but it is mainly in the past year that she has started getting the attention she deserves as Edwards spent a large part of 2011 opening for Bon Iver, and Bon Iver leader Justin Vernon co-wrote, co-produced and plays on Voyageur. Besides Vernon, Bon Iver drummer Sean Carey, Megafaun’s Phil Cook, Norah Jones and Brian Moen of Peter Wolf Crier also guest on the record. Initially, the Bon Iver influence is not as noticeable as one might expect after reading the previous sentences (or any press release in regards to the LP) as it is clearly Edwards’ record and her musical direction, with Vernon's contributions appearing after several listens – mainly in the arrangements on tracks such as “A Soft Place to Land” and the production.

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Consequence of Sound - 72
Based on rating B
72

The fourth album from Canadian alt-country first lady Kathleen Edwards finds her working with a broader musical itinerary. Edwards has always been critically well regarded, but it hasn’t necessarily translated into record sales. That should change with Voyageur. The apparent vision behind this album is to develop and refine her core sound while keeping things tight and to the point.

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Slant Magazine - 70
Based on rating 3.5/5
70

Her ability to turn a witty, incisive phrase has always been Kathleen Edwards’s strongest selling point, and she gets off plenty of vicious one-liners on her fourth album, Voyageur. What distinguishes the album from its predecessors is the number of barbs she reserves for herself. Rather than using her acid tongue primarily to dismiss her exes, Edwards focuses instead on her own shortcomings and pessimism when it comes to failed relationships.

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Drowned In Sound - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

It was only on third album Asking For Flowers that Kathleen Edwards got a proper release in these shores. Showing a brave honesty mostly absent from the Canadian’s clean cut, alt. country contemporaries, critics praised Edwards for her vivid narratives, with debut Failer being a gritty portrayal of America, Back to Me reading like an open diary and Asking For Flowers' ’Alicia Rose’ portraying said real life murder victim.

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AllMusic - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

Singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards has different kinds of traveling in mind on her album Voyageur. There is the geographic kind, of course, but also the journey through the seasons of nature, and, especially, the trip a love affair represents from its beginning to end. Edwards seems to be in transit right from the start, at least in terms of intentions, with the folk-pop leadoff track proclaiming, "I'm movin' to America," before the singer quickly adds, "It's an empty threat." Still, that's a good representation of the themes of the record, as Edwards explores troubled feelings, often expressing dissatisfaction with a lover she is simultaneously obsessed with and unhappy about.

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Pitchfork - 64
Based on rating 6.4/10
64

Kathleen Edwards' fourth album, Voyageur, was co-produced with Justin Vernon, the man behind Bon Iver and creator of Pitchfork's 2011 album of the year. His involvement, along with the fact that they are dating, will inform the way many people approach the record, especially since it finds Edwards striking in some new musical directions. After building three albums on a sturdy country-rock Canadiana frame, she jettisons the bar-band guitars and twangy vocals in favor of a bigger sound marked by gauzy production and a fuller band that includes Vernon along with members of Megafaun, Francis & the Lights, and Peter Wolf Crier.

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PopMatters - 60
Based on rating 6/10
60

Canadian alt-country chanteuse Kathleen Edwards is delivering a new album, her fourth, that might attract more notoriety for the music industry headlines that she’s recently chalked up more so than for the actual contents of that album, Voyageur. For those of you who might not be keeping score, Edwards split from her husband and long-time musical collaborator, Collin Cripps, a fairly well-respected (at least in his home country) Canadian music producer and musician, and has lately found herself in a romantic relationship and creative partnership with none other than Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, a move that will undoubtedly bring her much more cachet in America and beyond. Not only has Edwards been touring with Vernon, but he has co-produced Edwards’ latest album.

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The Observer (UK) - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

The mood on Edwards's fourth album is one of non-threatening melancholy and her medium is languid alt-country, all softened edges and warm, full arrangements, the latter the work of co-producer and rumoured beau, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. The songs are sound, if a bit dull, and the album ends with what seems like a PS addressed to cavilling journalists: "For the Record" is a forlornly defensive plaint. "Hang me up on your cross," comes the reproach.

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DIY Magazine
Their review was very positive

‘Voyageur’ – in every sense of the title’s meaning – is a record that sees its creator, Kathleen Edwards, investigate and expand both her sonic and lyrical content with the exactitude of a valiant voyager. As the Canadian songwriter’s fourth full-length, ‘Voyageur’ manifests Edwards’ progression from her earlier records, whilst retaining her charm and personal style over its 10-track duration. Her vocals – often reminiscent of The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan – remain beautiful, yet forlorn and while her music revels in quietude, replete with sombre undertones that swell beneath its cheery instrumentation, there is an innate blossoming beauty that informs every track.

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BBC Music
Their review was positive

Classy Americana from Canadian chanteuse produced by Bon Iver. Wyndham Wallace 2012 Despite being feted in her Canadian homeland since her debut album in 2003 – she was shortlisted in 2008 for the Polaris, their equivalent of the Mercury Prize – Europe is only now waking up to the charms of Kathleen Edwards with the release of her fourth album. That Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, is Voyageur’s co-producer has much to do with that, but to confine its appeal to his involvement is to risk undervaluing a genuinely touching, easily accessible collection of songs.

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The New York Times
Their review was generally favourable

KATHLEEN EDWARDS “Voyageur” (Zoë/Rounder) On her first three albums the Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards made folk rock with sturdy shoulders and square corners. She’s a brawny singer when she wants to be, and a forthright songwriter, and if she sometimes had more energy or tension than the form could bear, well, a little bit of danger was never unwelcome. But there were limits Ms.

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American Songwriter
Their review was generally favourable

It’s against my feminist nature to define a singer-songwriter in the shadow of her boyfriend, so I’m pleased to report I’m not the biggest Bon Iver fan. Nevertheless, Kathleen Edwards and Justin Vernon brought out the best in each other this year. I’m going to credit his sleeping with the tuneful firecracker behind 2008’s most perfect pop song “The Cheapest Key” for imbuing Bon Iver with the sex and melody his mawkish cabin breakthrough For Emma, Forever Ago lacked.

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