Steph MacPherson Bells & Whistles

Victoria, BC singer-songwriter and New Zealand native Steph MacPherson certainly has written an album filled with bells and whistles (and hand claps and pretty harmonies). Her clean pop sound is kind of like Sriracha sauce: it goes with everything. MacPherson has opened for, and played with, such varied acts as Men Without Hats, Erykah Badu, Tom Cochrane, Sheryl Crow and Yukon Blonde. The album begins with the title track, a triumphantly catchy tune that showcases the fact that comparisons to Sarah Harmer are valid, although I can't listen to this album without hearing Ingrid Michaelson. "Bent & Unkind" is almost as adorkable a song as one Zooey Deschanel would write. Bells & Whistles also features tender, cathartic moments such as "The Distance" and "Open Book." Steph MacPherson's newest album is catchy, likeable and a safe bet. (Cordova Bay)