For her fourth album, Montreal artist Katie Moore stripped down the recording process. Getting by with one or two takes—and adding in the arrangements after—she partially withdrew to her family home and Mixart Studio to assemble the 11-track Fooled by the Fun.
It’s an example of how experience pays—there’s nary a note of out place as Moore’s vocals take the lead. Although an impressive set of helping hands—from members of Montreal’s Sin and Swoon, Silver Mount Zion, Islands, as well as Andrew Horton, Socalled, Warren Spicer, Angela Desveaux, Josh Zubot, Simon Nakonechny—no doubt helped to strike just the right balance to leave Moore’s voice as the album’s biggest takeaway.
As the album sways from folk to soul, languid country to sashaying R&B, the clear draw is the gentle croon pouring out delicately over those versatile notes. The rocking opener “Leaving,” with its touch of twang begins Fooled by the Fun in a far different place than the bopping closer, “Find You Near.”
Captured in between is the slow transition as the titular track bleeds into “Talked All Night,” easing from country to folk seamlessly—abandoning the steady pace of the intro for a lively, passionate chorus as the drums reach their crescendo. It’s on the middle track—and Tracy Chapman cover—“Baby Can I Hold You” that Moore’s vocals strike their strongest, drawing on the song’s longing to pull some of the sweetest notes yet out of the songstress.
“Wildwinds” only builds on this intensity as a solitary violin matches Moore’s reaching voice—offset by mellow, masculine backing. Meanwhile, French interlude “Tu ressembles a tous ceux qui ont eu du chagrin” is a captivating surprise that adds yet another spark as the album moves into its coda.
The remaining tracks finalize the journey Moore has charted through the genres, stretching her voice and leading her troupe of players to just the right notes—coming out with a stronger second half as her voice comes into its fullest. Energy pulses through “Chain-Link” before “Find You Near” taps its way to the finale, offering the kind of build-up that can only be sated by the slow pattering of the last track to a fulfilling—but noticeably empty—silence.
Top Tracks: “Wildwinds” ; “Chain-Link”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)