Heart and Crime (Jagjaguwar)
By: Scott D. Lewis
Julie Doiron made a sharp musical transition when her band, Eric's Trip, went up the stairway to heaven and Doiron had a child. No more would she yelp and make a giddy noise, now she would turn the amps very close to "off" and sing only in heavy whispers. After operating under the name "Broken Girl," Doiron has worked under her own name, releasing four albums, the last being Desmorais, a record sung completely in French (Doiron is French-Canadian). In a word, Doiron's music is sparse. Heart and Crime is so immediate, delicate and intimate, it's as if the listener has crawled into the artist's living room rehearsal space. Though scraps of drums, piano, harmonica, organ and cymbals appear here and there, as well as some birds and a plane flying overhead, mostly it's just Doiron's ghostly guitar and hollowed-out, slightly husky and always hushed voice. Living in the same art-folk camp as Cat Power and Mia Doi Todd, Doiron takes a sculptor's approach to constructing songs; she simply strips away the extra parts, the extraneous material, the musical flotsam and jetsam, until the core of the song is the only thing left standing. It's a process that demands patience, both on the part of the artist and the listener. But those thoughtful, considerate souls who can stay in there with her, those able to wade through the naked musical molasses, are richly rewarded.
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