Published Nov 13, 2015There always seems to be a wintery undercurrent to the Good Lovelies' albums ("February Song" from their 2009 self-titled, "Winter Hours" off of Live at the Revolution, and of course, the group's entire 2009 Christmas album Under the Mistletoe). Perhaps it's the trio's robust Canadiana peeking through, or perhaps it's because the group (consisting of Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore) formed in 2006 at a Christmas show in Toronto. Either way, Winter's Calling takes what the Good Lovelies do best — stunning harmonies, solid songwriting and their retro-esque Andrew Sisters sound — and sprinkles a cozy, winter-tide seasoning on top of it.
The five-song EP includes three originals, kicking off with "Ancient Forest," a whimsical and slightly dark tune about snowy woodlands that somehow manages to channel a Whoville-like sound (in a good way, promise). "Winter's Defeat" picks things up a bit with sing-along-able melodies and lyrics ("What you hold in your heart / You cannot hold in your hand"). "Under the Tree" is the only tune that deviates from the winter theme, but it flirts with Christmas imagery, and without being too saccharine or earnest.
The album concludes with two covers: "Winter Song," originally by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles, and a waltzed-up version of Gordon Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter's Night." The former proves to be a bit of a hard tune to live up to for the group, but their stripped-down, piano-only version does have its charms. However, they perfectly wind their harmonies and leave their signature on the Lightfoot track (which is hard to do with the oft-over-covered song).
Overall, Winter's Calling weaves a wonderful mix of tunes for cold mornings and cozy evenings, offering a well-rounded remedy to the jam-packed holiday anthems heard ad nauseum this time of year. (Six Shooter)