José Contreras José Contreras

José Contreras José Contreras
9
Considered to be the first solo release by Jose Contreras, frontman of Canadian rock sweethearts By Divine Right, this ten-track, self-titled album is also a collection of artistic reinterpretations of the band's catalogue. Armed with little more than an acoustic guitar, occasional piano and his distinctive vocals, Contreras woos us with his personal take on classic BDR tracks from their impressive 25-year discography.

Guest vocalists include Lily Frost, Brent Jackson and fellow bandmate Alysha Haugen. There is a soft, minimalist approach to these songs, which are recorded largely in lo-fi — even muffled at times — to add poignancy to Contreras' faraway-sounding vocals. The quirky hooks and clever melodies of ''Psychic Radio'' and ''Past the Stars'' are still very much alive, but laced with a softer edge, while closing track ''Kick This Bummer'' makes a perfect outro without straying too far from its original version. (Squirtgun Records)