Shelley O'Brien Vivarium

Shelley O'Brien Vivarium
Shelley O'Brien celebrates the flora and fauna of her native Canadian landscape with her sophomore record. In what's akin to a sonic vivarium, O'Brien artfully captures the majestic as easily as the delicate. Recreating the wide-open space of the Pacific Northwest one moment ― its icy beauty and haunting paradox of starkness and complexity ― she then turns to whispers in a gentle ukulele waltz, followed by delicate hymns about the lonely caribou and a golden elm tree in fall. Using lighter fare to lend Vivarium just the right balance, O'Brien intersperses the album with well placed tracks of sunshine pop, such as "Turn to Spring" and "Swiftly, We Go." Though they remain distinct and fresh sounding, they somehow feel instantly familiar, compelling you to sing along. From the wellspring of her hope and awe, Shelley O'Brien has not only curated this country's beauty, but also her own. Fans of nature-inspired atmospheric folk in the vein of Laura Veirs' Carbon Glacier and Year of Meteors are sure to be smitten. (Independent)