Reviewed by Andrew Scott
Singer songwriter Basia Bulat may be little known here in the UK but is an established star in her native Canada. Her previous two albums, 2010’s Heart of My Own and 2013’s ‘Tall Tall Shadow were both nominated for the Polaris Music Price, Canada’s equivalent of the Mercury Music Price. The latest release, Good Advice, sees her develop her sound and build on her previous successes.
Bulat started out in the folk singer-songwriter tradition. Her debut album features banjos, fiddles and acoustic guitars. She is also known for playing the auto-harp, an instrument played by such illustrious figures as June Carter Cash, PJ Harvey and even Billy Connolly. ‘Tall Tall Shadow’ carried on in a similar vein but expanded on the natural soulfulness of her voice. This new album sees her let her hair down, leave the folk sounds behind and fully embrace her soul and pop influences. Hints of the auto-harp can still be heard, such as on album closer ‘Someday Soon’. The most dominant sound on the album is organ, helping carry across the gospel and soul sound. Stand out tracks on the album include ‘Long Goodbye’, ‘Fool’ and ‘In The Name Of’.
This beautifully produced album comes from the talented Jim White, principal songwriter for My Morning Jacket,. However, even after several listens the songs seem to blur into one another, without any really standing out. A couple of stellar pop songs could have propelled this album to a higher level. As it stands, it’s a solid effort which showcases Bulat’s vocal talents but lacks that killer pop edge.
Recommended track: Fool