The Mighty Ship
Thrill Jockey Records
Angela Desveaux has crafted as strong and appealing a singer/songwriter album as I've heard in quite a while. Like fellow Canadian Kathleen Edwards, Desveaux traffics in territory pioneered by Lucinda Williams--alt-country indie pop, or some such thing--and possesses, as Edwards does, both the vocal character and the songwriting chops to turn music ever in danger of veering into corn into a continually unfolding and pleasurable experience.
This is an album worthy of being an album, quite clearly constructed with an ear on the flow of the entire work. From the start, Desveaux throws us for a loop by opening the CD with the pensive, bittersweet "Other Side"--not the typical ear-candy-like opening track, and it shows me that she trusts her ability to engage our ear with atmosphere and strength of melodic purpose. Not that ear candy is Desveaux's style, at all; the follow-up track, the TWF-featured "Sure Enough," is upbeat and catchy, but sliced with subtle melancholy, while track three, "Hide From You," a fuzzy-riffed rocker, at the same time displays a thoughtful, Beatlesque flair.
Even when she slows things down to a crawl, as in "Joining Another," Desveaux keeps my interest through unwavering tunefulness and some classy instrumental work. The album hits full Lucinda mode with the tough, achey "Shape You," then follows it with perhaps the album's most ambitious composition, "Red Alert," a taut shuffle with evocative strings and a Jonatha Brooke-like sense of melodic indignation. "For Design," the album's tough-skinned closer, sends me to the repeat button, ready to run through these 10 well-wrought songs all over again. [buy via the Fingertips Store]
(See more Fingertips CD reviews on the Album Bin page of the main Fingertips site.)