Heart of My Own (Rough Trade)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., April 2, 2010
Basia BulatHeart of My Own (Rough Trade)
Toronto songstress Basia Bulat turned heads with her 2007 debut, Oh, My Darling, an old soul's indie folk album with shades of Lilith and Vanity fare. Her unmistakable voice – a trembling, expressive contralto – remains a make-or-break feature, but she's learned when to reel it in on follow-up Heart of My Own. That heightened control makes for a more confident and dramatic affair, especially when accented by the sweeping arrangements of returning producer and former Arcade Fireman Howard Bilerman. The first half of the album rushes forth like the Yukon River, with the contemporary, Autoharp-led "Run" and percussive flourish of opener "Go On" and "Gold Rush." Yet Bulat finds pensive resolve in her more subdued moments, as in the music-box waltz of "If It Rains" and "Sparrow," which recalls fellow Canadian folk revivalists the Be Good Tanyas. "Sugar and Spice" encapsulates Bulat's lingering effect on the listener: "I looked for the road, but all I could see was the dust. I remembered your voice, when you decided it was better for us."