Friday, September 2, 2011

MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: EMM GRYNER - NORTHERN GOSPEL

The Siren of Sarnia (bahahhah) returns with her latest ball of bouncy pop, all cleverly constructed and bright and shiny and lovely. Gryner is the rare singer-songwriter who sounds best with big productions. The more she piles on, builds up, harmonizes and changes keys, the better the fun. Now, her songs do sound good stripped down, and I've seen her play stuff alone at the keyboard. But even a gentle piano ballad such as Home on the new disc gets better as it goes on and more subtle touches are layered, harmonies slid in, etc.

Things are really cooking when she goes turns up the pop. Heartsleeves has all the glorious happiness of a Carpenters single, and I mean that with absolutely no irony. Those 70's singles were meant to sound tremendous and make you feel like there's magic in the air. Gryner captures that tone, plus knows how to sneak in the little bit of melancholy as well. Sexsmith does this well too, when he gets into his highest gear, although Emm has 3 or 4 higher than him. Gryner also knows lots of adding sounds and textures so there's no retro feeling to her mixes, and she has lots of alt-whatever credentials, so somehow it all comes off as cool and hip as well.

And yay for some cool Canadian references, including the nifty North, which probably provides the album title's pun. Both North and Home have the she's-from-Canada, he's-from-you know where imagery, including the cute line "In my heart you're from north of the border/shining down like an aurora." Oh, I'm a sucker for that stuff. Auntie Emm, there's no place like home!

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