If anything, Demetra has released an album at exactly the right time. Lone Migration oozes with the sounds of winter and coldness right as we’re (at least on paper) in the middle of winter.
Demetra, or Demetra Penner by full name, has emerged with her debut album and it’s a powerful one. While her meticulous arrangements, featuring piano, violin and guitar among others is stunning, her voice is what pushes the album from good to great. Rarely do I encounter such strong voices.
The album is mostly a slow burn, with songs often hypnotic and retaining imagery of ice and snow (taken from her extensive traveling). It gives the listener time to listen to all of the delicate arrangements that on occasion (like in the title track) morph several times per song.
The most obvious allusions to the arctic and winter are in the songs “Maiden of Ice” and “Arctic Sea.” The former is a dark tune that almost emanates coldness and ice. “Resurrect my body and cast away my ghost,” the song begins. “Arctic Sea” is also a mournful tune but has the added advantage of throat singing, something I had never heard until I heard this record. This comes courtesy of Nikki Komaksiutiksak, an Inuit singer who also appeared on a song with John K. Samson.
Aside from her slow and haunting songs she can also be quite lively, on songs like “Hey Stranger” and “Hunt & Gather.” The latter features a wonderful bit of mandolin that just immediately jolts some energy into the song.
Demetra reaches her most enchanting on the final track, “Hold Me Close.” Her vocals take on a desperate tone and the sparse guitar picking increases the song’s weight. The urgency in her voice makes you wish you could do just that.
This is a winter album indeed. This could easily be the soundtrack to falling snow out your window or something to listen to while curled up in a blanket with a cup of tea.
Lone Migration is available via Head in the Sand Records’ store.
Top Tracks: “Hey Stranger”; “Maiden of Ice”; “Hold Me Close”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*