Basia Bulat - Good Advice

by Jim Harris Rating:7 Release Date:2016-02-12

Honest, I loaded a bunch of songs on my music SD card, plugged it into my Jetta and took off and when Basia Bulat started belting out 'La La Lie', I thought, "Damn! Natalie Merchant is back!" Then reality set in. Where is Natalie Merchant? 

But Basia Bulat is back, although the sad, sometimes harp-driven, doleful tunes that were on her first few albums are replaced by unadulterated, energized, and polished pop songs. There is nothing like a move to a Kentucky studio and the recruiting of a big name producer (Jim James, My Morning Jacket) to wrap slick, well-coiffed pop music around one of the more powerful voices out there. 

And Bulat has a voice. Her range far-exceeds Natalie Merchant and while it might not be Adele it is remarkable in bringing out the best in both the up tempo songs and in the two starkly drawn slower songs that end the album. 

With Good Advice Bulat has definitely taken someone’s advice to leave Canada and find her niche as a pop singer in a studio in Louisville.  For the most part, the album hits on all pop cylinders right from the start and the tunes are carefully scrubbed with fuzzy organs and spritely washed out guitars that allow her voice to dominate, as it should.  This is the pop territory of Flo and the Machine but lacks the edginess of Regina Spektor or the throwback depth of Amy Winehouse.

Good Advice is immaculately produced and while some of the tunes start getting a bit too sweet for my tastes, her voice is a national treasure, and will probably be sprinkling indie movie soundtracks for years to come. 

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