Review – “New Behaviour” – Anna Wiebe

new-behaviourreviewed by Michael Thomas

Though this album came out two months ago, it’s fitting to post a review of this now, at the beginning of the new year, when many people are in fact trying to acquire a “new behaviour,” mostly in the form of exercising more or trying to eat healthier. But the New Behaviour Anne Wiebe is talking about here isn’t new years resolutions.

Wiebe’s quiet, lo-fi folk style lends itself well to her self-reflective lyrics. Whether it’s about a relationship she wanted, one she didn’t, or if she’s just finding herself in that kind of self-doubt stupor we find ourselves in, the arrangements always bring out the mood of her songs.

One thing that Wiebe excels at on this album is starting with some powerful opening lines. “This Bet” is a great example of this, the opening lyric setting the premise and tone for the rest of the song: “I hope you’re swimming in the river still, floating, waiting for me still.” We’ll never know how perfect this relationship was, but it’s nonetheless a dreamy song with appropriately dreamy guitar picking. “My Kind” also sets up is premise quickly, as Wiebe asks, “How did I get myself here when everything was so recently clear?” Most songs start off with lines like these; they’re perfect hooks for curious minds.

When Wiebe gets fiery, it’s not like she’s tapping into a punk-rock vein, but rather an infectious confidence. “Heaven” at first is the kind of gritty-honest folk song that would fit in Jennifer Castle’s songbook, but it transforms into something a little more pop as a drum machine comes into it. There’s not another song on the album quite like it. But the height of Wiebe’s confidence is definitely “I Don’t Mind,” a song that seems to be somewhat influenced by jazz and that begins with “I’m missing out on something big just because I can.” Wiebe does not experience FOMO, assholes!

Less-confident Wiebe is still delightful too, of course. “Satisfied” also begins with an excellent opening line (but I’ll save that one for you as to not spoil the whole album) and her vocals intertwine nicely with her backup singers for a song all about yearning.

So let’s hope 2017 brings us some nice things, and makes us feel as happy as Wiebe’s new album does.

Top Tracks: “Satisfied”; “I Don’t Mind”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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