At 24, Crissi Cochrane has already amassed an impressive list of accomplishments. She was part of the energetic Gamma Gamma Rays for two years while maintaining her own solo career, including an appearance on Rich Aucoin’s We’re All Dying to Live. The band disbanded after she left her home province of Nova Scotia for Windsor, Ontario in 2010, even as they released their first LP. Since moving west, she’s already released one full-length solo album along with an EP, and has now taken off in a new direction with her second full-length, Little Sway.
While Cochrane is still tied to her indie roots, it’s impossible to deny the influence a newfound source of old vinyl has had on her sound. Her voice still shines as the strongest element to her music, but there’s now a full, jazzy feel to the songs that enriches her natural talent.
Little Sway also comes across as a celebration as every song comes packed with life and there’s an audible smile to tracks like “Sleep in the Wild,” “Be Around” and “The Key,” despite it’s melancholic “Why do you never stay?” lyrics. Cochrane sounds rejuvenated by the fusion of genres, especially as they come together in the latter song, and the delight echoes throughout the album’s ten songs.
At times channeling a gentler Regina Spektor, there’s an almost dated feel to the Little Sway that isn’t present in her contemporary’s work. Maybe it’s the lighthearted feel to each song, but the album hearkens back to that imagined time when things were simpler and heartbreak wasn’t so bad.
Even genuine sad songs like “The Key” follow up “Pretty Words” can’t eclipse that sense—so that even as Cochrane’s vocals lower as she sings “You don’t have to lie, but you do it anyway” there’s an unmistakable sense of calm and acceptance that comes across as novel compared to her earlier work.
“The Man I Love” has the strongest jazz feel of all the tracks, bringing to the foreground the change in instrumentation—each song is fuller than Cochrane’s previous work as the music works to compliment her stunning voice. Mike Hargreaves, Stefan Cvetkovic and Adam Rideout-Arkell on bass, drums, and electric guitar and keyboards respectively have struck the perfect, complimentary note—the soft touch that always manages to dance along with Cochrane instead of leading her.
Because in the end, Little Sway feels like an old timey invitation to dance—with all the delicate, questioning and excited emotions that brings. It’s easy to fall into a daydream of simple pleasures while listening as the tracks smoothly move from one step to another, carrying you along.
Top Tracks: “The Key”; “The Man I Love”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) + *swoop*