The Good Lovelies

Burn the Plan

The Good LoveliesBurn the Plan
Gone are the cutesy throwback sounds to the Andrew Sisters and the covers of "Log Driver's Waltz"; here to stay are retro synths and electric guitars. This might not be what you'd expect from Canada's darling folk/country trio the Good Lovelies, but on the group's latest release, Burn the Plan, that's exactly what they do — burn any plan or expectation listeners had of them. And the new electric sound really works.

Right off the bat, Burn the Plan kicks off with a synth pad of drums and solo voice (think a mellower Hannah Georgas), with the catchy track "In the Morning." Somehow the group still manages to weave those old-timey harmonies fans have come to know and love into the mix, while "Broken Hearted" features a surf-rock sound amid some serious banjo. The songwriting still reflects that down-to-earth country sound the Lovelies are known for, referencing things like union dues, making the soil work and the factory line on "Open Windows," and lonely hearts on the almost Motown-esque ballad "Last Night." The album's last track, "Watching TV," almost channels an early Imogen Heap with its pop harmonies and relaxed groove, but there are some good old fashioned, unproduced slow jams on there too, notably "When the City Settles" and the poignant "Four O'Clock."

The Good Lovelies have always been solid musicians, with amazing instrumental chops and a Juno win under their belts, but Burn the Plan shows that they've got more than a kitsch factor and a knack for 1940s country tunes. Their mix of old-time harmonies, strong country song-writing and now some stellar modern production goes down less syrupy sweet than their previous releases; it's got bite. (Independent)
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