Review – “Softness” – Julie Arsenault

reviewed by Laura Stanley

There’s an empty storefront that I walk by every morning. After escaping the cacophony of the TTC, I walk a short distance down a quiet side street and pass by a new, red brick building and take a moment to peer into its space for rent. It’s a rectangular room with huge, nearly floor to ceiling, windows whose panes cast long shadows on a bare concrete floor. I dream that it will become a flower or book store but for now its only job is to hold the morning’s soft light.

Much like this space, Julie Arsenault’s EP holds softness. Throughout, the instrumentation is delicate and warm – an instrumental golden hour. Guitars slow dance with each other, Kinley Dowling’s strings are fantastic, and the bass on “The Fight” – nice!

Arsenault’s voice is hushed yet powerful and full of keen insights on Softness. She is that friend you share secrets with over a cup of tea. “It’s overwhelming but I fear nothing,” she says in “The Fight.”  “Am I a bad person and is that alright? I promise I’m learning, I promise I’ll try,” she reveals in “Chain”. On EP highlight “Monsters,” Arsenault ponders the future (the possibility for good and bad) of a romantic entanglement – “We could be lonely, we could be lovely” – for a soft-pop track that makes me want to slow dance.

Take refuge in Softness.

Top Tracks: “Monsters”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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