Sunday, November 18, 2018

Rae Spoon – Bodiesofwater

Rae Spoon – Bodiesofwater (Coax)

“Should I be an artist, even after I turn 40?” asks Rae Spoon, rhetorically, on a peppy song they titled “Do Whatever the Heck You Want.” The answer, as shouted back by a sudden chorus of onlookers on the track, is, of course, “YES!” Especially if, like Spoon, you’re just hitting your prime.

Spoon, a trans artist and activist who started out singing roots and country music in Calgary before embracing all manners of electronics in Berlin, has been on a long artistic journey; they (Spoon’s preferred pronoun) had a minor breakthrough 10 years ago with the album Superioryouareinferior, and the 2013 film and accompanying album My Prairie Home.

Bodiesofwater, however, sounds very much like the culmination of a life’s work, and not only just because it’s so good that it sounds like a greatest-hits, with pop melodies that rival Alvvays and other current master crafters. Spoon has successfully integrated their electronic influences, which in the past often felt like slightly ill-fitting clothes, into their often sparse, guitar-based arrangements with live drums. The one time they dive deep into the electronics, on the stirring, dirgey anti-pipeline protest song “You Don’t Do Anything,” they sound like the Eurythmics’ earliest work (i.e. “This is the House,” from 1983’s Sweet Dreams). As an arranger, a producer, a songwriter and a storyteller, Spoon is at the top of their game.

But wait, there’s more! They’re also responsible for running Coax Records, who’ve put out a diverse roster of underrated and deliciously weird cross-Canadian records in the last couple of years: Vancouver’s Geoff Berner, Yellowknife’s Quantum Tangle, Montreal’s Orkestar Kriminal, Ottawa’s Jim Bryson, Hamilton’s Wax Mannequin and Guelph’s Bird City. (Sept. 14)

Stream: “I Held My Breath,” “Do Whatever the Heck You Want,” “You Don’t Do Anything”

No comments: