Nathan Lawr Secret Carpentry

Nathan Lawr Secret Carpentry
Trying, no doubt, to compete with Dallas and Travis Good for Canada’s busiest musician, Nathan Lawr — the man who has sat behind the kit for everyone from Royal City to the Constantines — may currently be crossing the country as part of a multi-songwriter circus called A Midautumn Night’s Dream but he’s keeping another iron in the fire as well. Secret Carpentry, Lawr’s second solo album, finds him teaming up with renowned indie producers Howie Beck, Jeff McMurrich and Andy Magoffin to get a barebones live in the studio feel for his slightly off-kilter rootsy songs. He brings in his band, the Minotaurs, on occasion but most members only sit in for a song or two — the rest is like Lawr’s debut with the multi-instrumentalist accompanying himself. It makes for a strong collection of songs laced with blues and country but, whereas you might expect the full band numbers like the sing-along "Put Your Money” to outweigh the others, this is not so. "Shaking Like a Rake,” for instance, with only vocal and piano is every bit as engaging. The single exception is the staggeringly good "Bring Your Sting” which, with a tasty drunken bass line, perforated disco drumbeat and pop stylishness is the Minotaurs at their best. (Independent)