reviewed by Laura Stanley
Corey Isenor is a name that I’ve heard a lot and maybe you have too. It could be because of his presence in the Sackville music community, gracing the stage of Sappyfest or it could be because Isenor has shared the stage with the likes of Said The Whale, The Rural Alberta Advantage, and Rich Aucoin. If you’re like me and have heard the name and not the music, it’s about time you did and Isenor’s new album The Hunting Party is a good place to start.
At the core of The Hunting Party is a traditional folk sound but it doesn’t mean that Isenor won’t stray away, as he adds rock and country sounds. An air of confidence in Isenor’s subtle but strong voice is one of the many aspects of the album that make it such a spirited release.
The album starts with three fuller, more complex, and darker songs. A steady addition of a banjo paired with a terrific melody, drives “Shiver” forward while the title track may be loud and messy but it shows that right from the beginning, Isenor is not afraid to be ambitious.
“Deja Vu” and “The Ballad of Emily” are the first songs of many on the album which really show off the strength of Isenor as a musician. The additional vocals from Colleen Collins on “Deja Vu” and the stripped-down style and clever songwriting in “The Ballad of Emily,” makes for beautifully composed and delivered songs, something that is easier said than done.
As a quick little folk track, “Bend In The River” is undoubtedly the most upbeat and catchy song from The Hunting Party, with backing vocals from Dave Trenaman and once again from Collins.
The Hunting Party’s ending song, “Wild Shore,” has the similar stripped-down quality like that of “The Ballad of Emily” but, if I may dare to say this, has a little bit of a James Taylor quality to it at the beginning. With intricate guitar picking and the great line, “I still long for those wild shores of your heart,” Isenor really ends the album perfectly with this song. (Be sure not to miss the Shotgun Jimmie-esque hidden track at the end of the three and a half minute silence.)
The Hunting Party is available to stream and to purchase on Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “Deja Vu,” “The Ballad of Emily,” “Bend In The River”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really good) + *Swoop*