sun 26/05/2024

CD: Basia Bulat - Good Advice | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Basia Bulat - Good Advice

CD: Basia Bulat - Good Advice

A captivating fresh approach from the Canadian singer-songwriter

Basia Bulat's 'Good Advice': the sound of invigoration and rebirth

Canadian singer-songwriter Basia Bulat’s first three albums were recognisably folky. Her main instrument was the autoharp. Good Advice is different. With its more upfront songwriting and verve, her fourth album is a giant leap. It is also Bulat’s best to date.

Good Advice abandons her previous approach to embrace an R ‘n’ B-influenced pop with gospel-inclined melodies (the only element nodding back to her former self). The instrumental framing is totally new: booming drums, bubbling bass, shuffling percussion, keyboards, odd stabs of sax and a supporting chorale. Her voice is more powerful than ever. It’s the same leap Ane Brun made with her benchmark 2011 album It all Starts With One. Such a shift could alienate an existing audience, but Good Advice is so assured, so infectious that the Montréal-resident Bulat shouldn’t have a problem keeping her existing fans and winning new ones.

Head for track four, “In the Name of”, for instant proof of Good Advice’s strength. A driving exhortation, its rhythmic base underpins organ, punctuation with percussion and a melody as immediate as it is moving. The lyrics debate whether a spell can or cannot be broken. “I cannot go home again,” she declares.

Trailed as a break-up album, this is not a 41-minute wallow or whinge. Instead, it is the sound of invigoration bought about by rebirth. The inspiration may have been difficult, but with the terrific Good Advice as a result the troubles were probably worth it.

Overleaf: watch the trailer for Basia Bulat’s Good Advice

Watch the trailer for Basia Bulat’s Good Advice

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