Toronto-based singer-songwriter Megan Bonnell's second full-length album, Magnolia, is a gorgeous, introspective collection of songs that demonstrate an artist at the top of her game.
Produced by Chris Stringer (The Wooden Sky, Timber Timbre) and Joshua Van Tassel (David Myles, Gypsophilia), who also worked on her previous album, Hunt and Chase, the record marries Bonnell's poetic songwriting and affecting voice with illuminating instrumentation from beginning to end.
What makes Bonnell's achievement so striking, though, is the way she subverts a number of genres across the 11 tracks here. The record combines the manic energy of Toronto's more out-there musical collectives (see "Anna," "Golden Boy" or "You Are The One") with pop sensibilities ("Can't Have You," "The Wind"), sultry piano bar balladry ("Chameleon," "Dynamite," "Lucky Man") and wistful acoustic beauty ("Broken Hearted Avenue").
More remarkable yet, the result is a well-rounded, warm, intimate record. Final track "Up and Away," particularly, reflects the album's core themes: the passage of time, moving on and finding happiness.
Magnolia dazzles and engages. Don't be surprised if you find it on many best-of lists by year's end.(Cadence Music Group)