Kathryn Calder’s second album, released not much more than a year after her debut Are You My Mother? manages to be both bright and vivid.
I missed out on her debut album, but I did manage to hear a few songs to have some point of comparison. What’s very clear is that the production for Bright and Vivid is seriously different than her previous release. Her newest release is huge- almost every song has many layers and are not songs that can be taken in in just one listen.
That and there are tons and tons of new instruments to behold. The change from Are You My Mother? to Bright and Vivid is not much unlike Dan Mangan’s transition from Nice, Nice, Very Nice to Oh Fortune. Calder is suddenly much louder and complex.
The opener “One Two Three” should make it clear that you’re in for a different listen. Some distorted electric guitars will greet your ears and it will be roughly a minute before you hear Calder’s vocals, distorted as they are.
“Who Are You?” is a crazily addictive song, meanwhile. There are so many things going on I know I’ll miss, but at the very least there are some crazy gospel-choir vocals and some kind of electronics. The result is one strange but appealing number.
The little things in the songs are always worth noting, such as the xylophone that accompanies the first part of “Walking in My Sleep” or the brief but majestic cymbal crashing in “Turn a Light On.”
Calder proceeds to flip even more things on their heads with the song “All the Things” which at first is a gentle number where Calder can barely be understood. Then the music becomes more precise in staccato, then suddenly a bass riff comes in, then drums, and then really powerful electric guitars. It’s such a smorgasboard of sound that an entire review could be written about this one song.
The unpredictable album comes to an end with “Younger Than We’ve Ever Been” which strips off the complexity of some of the former numbers and does it well. The song is beautifully supported by elegant drum rolls to end the album triumphantly.
In the end, Bright and Vivid weaves a complex sonic tapestry- one that, like all great works of art, takes some time and consideration. What Calder will do next is anybody’s guess.
Top Tracks: “Who Are You?”; “Younger Than We’ve Ever Been”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*