Lorde-Melodrama QUICK 100

another quick cult mtl review, big candidate for pop AOTY

“Pure Heroine” was certainly an inspiring moment for the music world. A 16-year-old New Zealander took over the world singing about wealth and consumption with freaky backing vocals and a general alternative aura.  Singing over chugging guitars, pounding drums, and fun synth-horn lines, “Melodrama” is Lorde’s unabashed pop anthem record in all the right ways.  Her choruses are powerful as ever, perfectly capturing relatable emotional strife, with those backing vocals appearing here and there over a much more lush, orchestral landscape.  Lorde took a while to come back, but the last four years have been all growth and her empire is just beginning.

-Donovan Burtan

9/10

SZA-Ctrl: QUICK 100

hey wrote this for cult mtl

 

On “Ctrl,” SZA provides a much more focused sound than her past releases with a slew of commanding vocal performances falling over live-leaning alternative R&B instrumentation. The work feels a bit like one continuous melody, which can have its drawbacks—the choruses aren’t necessarily for the ages—but, her acrobatic melodies provide endless expression as she tackles the confusion of the “20 somethings.”  From songs about being the other woman, to having a partner lose interest, to anxiety over wasted youth, SZA pinpoints relatability while avoiding tired cliché.

-Donovan Burtan

8/10

Jessica Mos-Pools of Light: Quick 100

Hey I wrote this for the CULT MTL print edition shhhhhh don’t tell my editor it’s here lol

Montreal vet Jessica Moss makes melody and looping sound effortless on her debut solo LP.  “Glaciers 2” thrives on high, floating violin melodies and “Entire Populations Prt. 4” takes a direct structure with each repetition of the short melodic phrase seeing the addition of another layer.  Besides these somewhat straightforward moments, incredible sonic designs push the album to new heights.  “Glaciers I” opens with layers of manipulated vocals, painting a haunting landscape for swells of bass sound, whereas “Populations Prt. 2” opens with falling stars of electric violin sounds.  Moss doesn’t need much to craft beauty, but her many different songwriting approaches make her debut surprising at every turn.

-Donovan Burtan

9/10

Trial Track: “Glaciers 1 Part 1”

Feist-Pleasure: Quick 100

Hey I wrote 100 words on the new Feist album for Cult Mtl’s print edition

(don’t tell anyone it’s online like this lol)

Leslie Feist’s fifth solo album finds a sparse, raw sonic place, leaving her voice out in open territory.  This general texture isn’t unheard of throughout her career, but here the contrast is more distinct and her voice commands with more versatility than her past efforts. “Baby Be Simple” finds breathtaking delicacy at the hook and “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You” rides a cathartic lilt, but the title track finds a bit of punky bounciness and “Century” throws in a collage of punching vocals.  Tackling life’s general ups and downs, her lyrics don’t cut too deep on their own, but the intimate instrumentals make for an impactful emotional experience.

-Donovan Burtan

8/10