Norine Braun: Through Train Windows

Norine Braun
Through Train Windows
(Norine Braun)

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Opening with the low breathy vocals and consistently strummed acoustic of “Sleeping Buffalo,” we are let into quite the concoction from Norine Braun, while looking Through Train Windows. And although the next tune “I’m Going Home” employs more acoustic and those breathy warm vocals again, there is a jumpy beat to the tune from drummer Elliot Polsk, some perfectly placed harp from Huggybear Leonard, and harmony vocal from Alice Fraser.

And things really take off from here.

“Climbing Table Mountain” is a blues country stomper, the best tune of the first five here for me (and that’s saying a lot since the tunes before it are all great). Steve Hilliam’s tenor sax just sails across it. We are back to acoustic leading the way with some low colors by Adam Popowitz’s guitar on, “Heading Up North,” the lyrics surely evoking long lonely places.

We get an “O Canada” cover here with snapping snare and some wonderful funk (and that sax again) on another of my favorites, “Rue St. Jean.” Norine actually changes up her voice ever-so-slightly here on a decidedly more ‘pop’ read. Again Alice Fraser lends harmony.

Although Through Train Windows ends with a rollicking upbeat title track for me, the plodding “Heaven Only Knows,” works better. Unlike anything else of these 13, with a descending chorus line, Polsk hitting laconically, and droplet bass notes and slide from Adam Popowitz, I love how at times things seem to be breaking down into a discordant mess, then right themselves again. This is a weird, wonderful, great tune on an incredible album.

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