Lydia Ainsworth Right From Real Part I

Lydia Ainsworth Right From Real Part I
8
Lydia Ainsworth's first EP for Montreal's Arbutus Records is promising, to say the very least. Couched somewhere between Purity Ring's sinister, chopped-and-screwed version of twee, Owen Pallett's electronic/string hybrid and Kate Bush's fearless maximalism, Right From Real Part I is a towering drama pulled off in large part because of Ainsworth's apparent self-assurance.

Besides being a strong vocalist, she's also a masterful arranger: Ainsworth uses tension and release to great effect on first single "White Shadows," on which subtle flourishing blips bounce around crashing drums and string crescendos; "Take Your Face Off," meanwhile, balances her cut-up vocal gymnastic peaks with moments of blissful ambiance. The stutter-step of opener "Candle" is the EP highlight, but it speaks perhaps more strongly of Ainsworth to mention that even the weakest track here — the relatively straightforward synth-pop of "Malachite" — is still a winner, employing church-like backing vocals to maintain the gravitas that characterizes the rest of this fantastic release. (Arbutus)