Music Review: Gianna Lauren - On Personhood

The latest release from Halifax-based Lauren is a six-track mini-album, and far from the usual singer-songwriter fare. Instead, it's a full-band, live in the studio recording, much more of a indie-rock feel, with lots of brooding material and similar, matching atmosphere and guitar. Teamed up with J.J. Ipsen (bass), Justin Nace (guitar), Marshall Bureau (drums, from Octoberman) and Andy Magoffin (horns, engineer), Lauren put together a sympathetic mix of players who could go soft or loud, murky or bright, and create the music and structure with her before laying down the tracks.

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Lauren's a watcher, these aren't me-us-love songs, but rather observations, singular people or small bits of society. She's singing it like she's seeing it happen, floating somewhere near, giving us the picture too. Bitches Brew is slow, and rich, like the conversation she reports: "Calm down darling, no need for hurrying/You're still young, your chance will come." Meanwhile, the band gets to fill up the spaces, with some grand drum rolls, deep bass, a bit of keys, Lauren's ooh's, some distorted guitar and bed of atmosphere. Very murky. But the next track, Anchor Down, is a funky and jazzy number, repetitive lyrics coming out like a beat poet, and angular guitar pushing it along. Clearly this band approach was a big deal in the creation of the songs, and has moved the whole project up a notch.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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