Laura Barrett Victory Garden

Laura Barrett Victory Garden
The eternal sprite that is Laura Barrett has entranced everyone with her unassuming mastery of the African thumb piano, or kalimba, and bewitching voice. There’s a temptation to compare her to Kate Bush but Barrett is her own woman. Where her introductory EP, Earth Sciences, had people worried that a full-length would be more of the same, but longer, that’s nowhere near the case. Draping her voice in nimble orchestrations, sometimes the kalimba is front and centre — hear the transcendent "Consumption” — but other times it’s completely absent, like on the charming "Spoiler Alert.” Really, this debut is light years from that EP. Just experience "Escape to the Sun Dome,” where Barrett morphs "we came here to win” into the word "winnow” over sweeping, repeated strings, and it’s refreshingly original. "The Sharper Side” is the highlight because it shows Barrett at her loopingly operatic and orchestral best. From Veda Hille to Christine Fellows and now Laura Barrett, the literate, vibrant and brave female songwriters of Canada are having a hell of a year. (Paper Bag)