[Album Review] Kathryn Calder- Kathryn Calder
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

Release Date: April 14th, 2015
Label: File Under: Music

Given the collaborative, team focus of The New Pornographers and the media attention that the group generates, it is understandable that Kathryn Calder’s solo effort is a quieter, more intimate affair. However, with her delicate touch and easy warmth, one gets the impression that her own music would have been that way regardless.

Central to the charm of this self-titled record is the ringing of Calder’s crystal clear voice. Effortlessly and naturally sweet, it swoops up and down the scales with ease. Like a confidante she expresses disparate human emotions – joy, wistfulness, mourning, dread – with only the most nuanced of shifts in timbre.

Almost as compelling here is Calder’s musicianship. The songs’ arrangements are heavily focused on her keyboard performances, which vary from the light washes on “Song in Cm” to the frisky synthpop on “Take a Little Time”.

Most of the songs are understated and reserved, although Calder is quite capable of adding drama when required. The standout track “When You See My Blood” starts out quietly enough, but it slows builds up steam before coming to a crashing climax.

‘Kathryn Calder’ is calculated to be restrained and modest, so it hardly allows Calder to escape the shadow of the behemoth that is The New Pornographers. However, the ingenuity of the arrangements and the honesty of her vocal delivery provide powerful enough evidence that she would be a recognized talent even if that shadow didn’t exist.