Canada has given us some amazing musical acts; Avril Lavigne, Sum 41, Nickelback. On second thought, maybe they haven't. Oh wait, Rush is from Canada and they rule. Ok. Back on track.
Now Canada brings us Norine Braun. Known across her native country as an earnest and eclectic roots rocker, Braun has recorded and recently released the album "Through Train Windows" and that also happens to be the LP I'm reviewing for Now Hear This Music today. Funny how that works.
I come into this review with no prior knowledge of this artist aside from what I've read in her media kit. My ears are virgin to the sounds. I'm excited.
My thoughts after the jump per the usual.
The first track on the album is "Sleeping Buffalo". A slow burner but quite delightful in vocals and lyrics, I think it might be a good foreshadow of the moody modern blues we may be in for. "I'm Going Home" is really fun. Like Janis Joplin reincarnated, Braun sings her way in the most honest way possible on this one. So much feeling. "Jerkwater Town" is catchy and could easily be a hit single. Another rock solid tune here. "Exhale" from a musical standpoint sounds like it could be on an early Elliott Smith album. This one is dreamy and dark and another excellent track. "Climbing Table Mountain" is another track that has a lot of pop appeal. Another potential single here. I love the sax in this one. "Heading Up North" is the first one that I don't love. It's not bad, but it definitely seemed like a hiccup in excellence. "I'm Moving On" and "Rock the Rolling" are both strong album tracks. The kind of tracks that will be some diehards favorites on the entire record. "Oh Canada" isn't a cover of the Canadian National Anthem and I'm equal parts stoked and disappointed. The song itself is a lovely ode to Braun's home country. "Rue St. Jean" is bounce and fun and a different look in an album that has been quite serious at times. "Crosses and Sweetgrass (Salvation)" has a gorgeous piano intro and might be the best-sung song on the LP. "Heaven Only Knows" is the penultimate track and it's a dandy. Joplin-esque. The finale is title track "Through Train Windows" and it's jazzy and fun and pretty damn good way to see us out."
I love when I'm pleasantly surprised by an album. This is just damn good from bell-to-bell. The kind of album that really makes you wanna see the artist perform live. Highly recommended.