Wendy McNeill A Dreamer's Guide To Hardcore Living

Wendy McNeill’s worldview can likely be summed up by one line from the second track on her latest album: "Start building a castle, don’t sit and cry, because heartache is a hassle and a waste of time.” On her fifth full-length disc, McNeill, an Edmontonian now living in Sweden, instructs, as the album title suggests, on the importance of living life fully. McNeill also puts her deliberate, measured vocals to good use, recounting an assortment of dream-like folk tales and spooky, cabaret-style parables. The disc features several of her signature off-kilter, accordion-driven waltzes, as well as a number of lush, textured, orchestral folk pop tracks. The arrangements are dense and satisfying, weaving the velvety hum of a cello together with a zither, a variety of obscure organs and the occasional unsettling shriek of metal on metal. She wraps the disc up beautifully with entrancing experimental track "Park Bench,” which pairs fuzzy, distorted vocals with the hypnotic plink of a marimba. (Six Shooter)