Quick Review (LP): Are You My Mother? by Kathryn Calder

Kathryn Calder
Are You My Mother?
File Under: Music; 2010

My Rating: A

Best Tracks: “Slip Away”, “Arrow”, “If You Only Knew”, “Day Long Past It’s Prime”

I’ve already declared my love for this record elsewhere (see below). The songwriting’s great, the melodies are big, the instrumentation is lush, and everyone sounds like they are having a great old time. Quieter numbers like “Low” and “Arrow” are gorgeously reflective and dream-like, making optimal use of Calder’s girl-next-door vocals. At the same time, “Castor & Pollux” and “Day Long Past It’s Prime” demonstrate a penchant for National-esque post-anthem indie rock. But my favorite tracks are the ones that take the folk turns, especially “If You Only Knew.” The back-porch band approach makes for one of the best tracks of the year. The under-impressed accounts from the usual suspects be damned; our lady’s a musical force to be reckoned with. Any outtakes or b-sides there, KC?

Tracknotes: “If You Only Knew”
Albumnotes
Paste review
Pitchfork review
Her Myspace page

Tracknotes: “If You Only Knew” by Kathryn Calder

calder - mother Don’t hold it against me if I continue to gush about the debut LP from Kathryn Calder (New Pornographers, Immaculate Machine). In this case, I want to express my appreciation for one of the album’s standout tracks, the infectious, organic, back-porch pop of “If You Only Knew.”

  • Handclaps, sleigh bells, chorused vocals…this is fantastic instrumentation!
  • I love the timbre of Calder’s voice – there is a simple, girl-next-door sort of quality to it, nothing too flashy but as appealing as a sunny spring day.
  • I think we’ve got some horns in there too – which means I can stick the “baroque” tag on this, right? Nice touch.
  • Love the lyrics of the chorus, as well as the extension in the phrasing. Listen to the track and check it out…
  • All-in-all, I expect this one will be in the running for my Top Tracks of 2010.

Check it out:

Kathryn Calder – If You Only Knew

You can buy Calder’s LP Are You My Mother? at Amazon.

AlbumNotes: Kathryn Calder’s “Are You My Mother?”

via radio3.cbc.ca

  • I’ll admit I was skeptical about Kathryn Calders debut when it was first announced a few months back. I didn’t know about her work in Immaculate Machine, and she’d only managed to make a star appearance on a few New Pornographers tracks since joining the band mid-decade. And anyway, the circumstances of her joining the band oddly struck of nepotism.
  • Any doubts that I had have been blown away. Are You My Mother? is a solid debut. Great melodies, fun arrangements, diverse rhythms, and crafty wordplay. It plays like one of Uncle Carl’s solo records, maybe less angular. I’ve been telling everyone I can about this record.
  • My favorite tracks are “If You Only Knew”, “Follow Me Into the Hills”, and “Slip Away.” Additionally, “Day Long Past Its Prime” sounds like The National fronted by a female vocalist. Really good stuff.
  • Apparently, it’s a very personal record as well. Calder’s mother died in the process of recording it. For anyone who has ever read the children’s book that gave her the album’s title, there’s plenty of emotional resonance here.
  • I’m thinking this one will probably wind up on my top 10 albums of 2010. At that point, I intend to give it the appropriate write-up.