Monday, October 3, 2011

MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: JF ROBITAILLE - CALENDER

It's a return to action for Montreal's Robitaille, and a return home, after a sojourn to NYC ended in folded record label and lost CD.  Considered a star on the rise back a decade ago, there's everything here to suggest he could slide back into that role now that he's back in familiar haunts.  Robitaille's tunes fall deliciously inbetween folk and rock, acoustic strummers but with obvious edge.  There's a little bit of Velvets-era Lou Reed to it, some Jonathan Richman, and a large dash of Cohen.

JF has a fine way with the words too, both in the enunciation and in the composition.  There are lots of excellent choices, uncommon and important-sounding lines, delivered with emphasis on the key words.  This might seem like an odd thing to point out, but I think it's the main reason I like the guy.  He's delivering the songs in a way that wins me over, and gives each song added strength.  It's especially effective on the acoustic numbers, when it's just JF and his guitar and maybe a bass and a harmony.  There's power in the quiet, like those old Simon and Garfunkel songs about their exotic lovers.

Maybe it was the time in New York, but there is a distinct NYC late-60's sound to Calender.  It has that Columbia Records production feel, the Tom Wilson and John Simon sound, the voice prominent and the backing sparse.  You'll wonder about these mystery women he's singing to, you'll picture them, you'll feel the sadness, and be thankful you were given this bird's-eye view of their stories.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, great songs and production.

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