Itasca - Open To Chance

by Mark Steele Rating:9 Release Date:2016-09-30

There is that welcome feeling to finding an artist familiar to such as Sybelle Baier, and Joni Mitchell. It also seems obvious that as Kayla Cohen known as Itasca, unveils her newest release Open To Chance, she will now be readily connected to the established West Coast Laurel Canyon family of yesteryear.

The opening guitar arpeggios over a walking drum beat of 'Buddy' as shining rays of sunlight through the trees. Then as some sweet vocals lead-off, the sweet phrasing in-and-out of pedal steel guitar lines, add a touch of the mystical. This feeling equally enlightens us throughout 'No Consequence' and 'G.B', though it quite possibly runs parallel to the fading of summer, into a mysteriously awaiting autumn and winter phase. The first moments of these next seasons can be initially witnessed by the Nick Drake-ish 'Henfight', with Kayla's smooth mesmerizing tones gracefully gliding over melancholic guitar arpeggios.

If there is a collection of songs to beat away those winter blues, then this could well be it, and not only this year. There is a light in the vocals and shade heard in the harmonious rootsy guitar on 'Layman's Banquet' in a similarity to 'Daylight Again' by CSNY.  Soulfully hypnotic are the vocals by Kayla binding the atmosphere on 'Carousel', whilst showing a highly ecstatic, even dare we say vulnerable scenario.

A floating Celtic counterpoint world awaits us on 'Just For Tomorrow', dreamy celestial harmonies such as in the phrase "Would you wait for me if the snow is falling?", make this a warming experience. The psych-love ballad 'Angel' is a plentifully pretty picture of guitar and string layers, building upon the already impressive vocals.

The celestial breeze blows in the warm air of 'Daylight Under My Wing', alongside flute and strings, which quite frankly lift you airborne without a care. Fluid picking guitar changes keep the vibe aloft on 'Right This Time', and Kayla's lulling bluesy-cries through 'Bonafide', brings us back home to rest.

Open To Chance is something special and has the imbued hallmarks of revived ingenuity. Kayla has the ability to write truly potent and transcendent poems. This may well be one of the albums of the year.

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