MUSIC REVIEWS: Basia Bulat and JayMay

Basia Bulat
Oh, My Darling
Rough Trade/Hardwood

Buy it at Insound!

The first time I listened to Basia Bulat’s album Oh, My Darling, it was kind of like hearing an especially warbly Joanie Mitchell. The arrangements and vocals were pretty, though Andean panpipes and cinematic string arrangements gave it an overproduced, Adult Contemporary feel. But then I listened to it a few more times.

It’s still not the Next Big Thing, NPR plugs not withstanding, but it is growing on me. “In the Night” is fun and catchy, with the track’s offbeat rhythms working well with Bulat’s ethereal voice. Several other tracks approach the inventiveness of “In the Night,” but overall this is an album of comfort music; Fiona Apple light.

PS. Take a pass on the “In the Night” music video, unless you’re a fan of lo-fi productions of animal-costumed Canadians trampling thru the woods in some kind of high school band/feel-good drum circle montage.


Autumn Fallin’

Buy it at Insound!

The songs on JayMay’s Autumn Fallin’ are sweet, simple, and endearing tapestries that illustrate the singer’s wistful emotions. The album is heartbreak-centric, and New York City is referenced in several songs, evoking the desolation of being alone, while surrounded by millions of people.

In its catchy melody and JayMay’s charming voice, “Blue Skies” is a song set for commercial success, while “Gray or Blue” has elements reminiscent of a calmer, folksier version of Regina Spektor. Most of the songs are simply JayMay, an acoustic guitar, some light percussion in the form of drums or tambourine, and a sprinkling of keyboard or xylophone.

The CD in its entirety is a strong debut, ideal for listening to while taking an introspective stroll through NYC, relishing the heartbreak and beauty the city has to offer.

–-Patricia Scull

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