Darling Arms All the Ghosts

This debut EP of Christina Frances, formerly of Montreal’s One Candle Power, has much in the way of immediacy and rawness, but, as with all singer-songwriters, she faces challenge to distinguish herself. With just the simplest of instrumentation, Frances is really just left to her own voice, which, due to its charmingly imperfect nature, allows for some intimacy. When she wants to create emphasis, the voice cracks ever so slightly, giving the songs a great raw quality that some may call emo. Another interesting note about these songs is Frances’s lack of fear concerning their length. At least two crack the six-minute mark, which is somewhat unusual for singer-songwriters, but it works really well in Frances’ hands. Vying for the top spot is "A Fish Hook, A Cat Eye,” where the plaintive acoustic guitar slowly leads into Frances’s able vocals, all made gloriously morose by an echoed bass. This really isn’t complicated music, but it does catch the imagination, and, considering the vast field Darling Arms competes in, that is sometimes more than enough. (Blue Skies Turn Black)