Published Jun 20, 2018"Who am I? I would like to know," Isla Craig, flanked by a powerhouse quartet of backing vocalists Daniela Gesundheit (Snowblink) Tamara Lindeman (The Weather Station), Ivy Mairi and Felicity Williams (Bahamas), ponders on "Who Am I." This soul-searching question feels like the core of the Toronto singer-songwriter's third LP, The Becoming, as Craig takes in the world, and looks within, packing each track with beguiling curiosity.
The Becoming is a record that transforms. Craig and her band mix pop with R&B grooves and a hint of psych-folk. They play with various sounds and textures, jumping, swaying and drifting into the unknown. No track goes where you think it will; "There Is a Hole," for example, starts with Craig's lone voice, but grows to a hectic, jagged song that sounds like what anxiety feels like when you go down a rabbit hole of bad thoughts.
The album's most breathtaking moments happen when Craig is in awe. On "Love Song," she is enraptured by another soul — the track's darting drum beat is like an excited heart's rhythm. On "Out of a Dream," she is struck by our connectivity to the Earth, and the triumphant-sounding highlight "Messages (Garden Edition)" finds Craig celebrating — by the mid-way point it really sounds like Craig is jumping for joy — "all the healing powers in my garden."
Craig's multi-dimensional meditation transfixes and uplifts. Take a deep breath and Craig, as she sings on "Bird of Paradise," will show you, "there's always been love all around you." (Pleasence)