The opening line of "Slow Burning," the first song on Kathryn Calder's new record, is an invitation, a dare, a desperate and delicate cry for more. The music shimmers and immerses the listener in an underwater utopia, while Calder's vocals climb in layers up towards the sky. It sets the scene for what's to come: a perfectly produced pop paradise. The self-titled album, Calder's third solo effort since joining the New Pornographers a decade ago, is a kaleidoscope of wonder, moments tucked inside other moments like Russian nesting dolls.
The sonic treats are so fleeting and surprising that even with repeated listens, trying to identify every one is like catching butterflies in a net; it's vibrant and alive and urgent, spring bursting through the winter's frost, an artist discovering new things about her music and herself. There's ache and pain, in some places, but even those songs feel weightless. "Song in C Minor" is a devastating, but its repeated refrain, "You'll never be mine," gets a lift from the spare arrangement and the enchanting flourishes that fade in and out. The album's best track is the propulsive "Take a Little Time," which vibrates and shines with odd rhythms and possesses an excellent shift about halfway through, where the momentum breaks and Calder's clear tones repeat "I'll forgive you" as if we're suspended in time with her before speeding back up into a glorious finish. (File Under: Music)