Quick Classic Review: Kathleen Edwards – Failer

Friday, July 20, 2012

ImageQuite a break, as I have been doing exams, moving and decorating and writing a few video game reviews over at Indie Game Bundles (not necessarily in that order), but I really wanted to get something on here before July was out, so here goes.

Nick Horny published 31 Songs, a series of essays on what music means to him, in 2003. One of the appendices of this book was a list of “Favourite Recent Songs”, those he had enjoyed shortly prior to its release, posted without comment. One of these was Kathleen Edwards’ One More Song the Radio Won’t Like. Via my own Task Engine some 9 years later, I found cause to pick up the album on which this song can be found, her 2003 debut Failer.

Country rock does not feature heavily in my music collection, but this is not what you might consider your typical country rock (for one thing, Edwards is Canadian). In terms of sound aesthetic, the closest artists I previously had in my collection to whom Edwards can be compared would have to be English ‘folktronica’ artist Beth Orton and US singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, fluctuating on a spectrum between the two (which would actually put her firmly in the category of folk-rock, so I clearly need a extra point to triangulate her between, which – sticking to my own collection – Tom Petty would have to provide).

Musically, there is a lot here to love. Lyrically the songs are, whilst brilliant, largely a mix of genre staples; untrustworthy lovers, heartbreak, indecisiveness and all that drinking to forget, leading inevitably to either a decision to turn it all around into something better or to fall further still. This is not as much of a criticism as it appears. There is enough going on in each song such that this feels more of a thread of cohesion running throughout the album, loosely holding it together. It never feels hackneyed or clichéd and, if anything, the album feels like it could easily be longer without outstaying its welcome.

Happily, with the release of Voyageur at the start of this year, there are now three other albums to explore, which I am quite likely to do. It will be interesting, as a latecomer starting at the beginning, to see how Edwards’ sound has changed as she has had time and opportunity to develop her sound and been met, so it appears, with ever-increasingly popularity.

Watch below the video for the song that led me here, One More Song the Radio Won’t Like, which features some rooftop juicing and what must be the most thoroughly grilled food of all time:

Purchase: Webstore | Amazon (UK | US)

Kathleen Edwards: Official website