Published Sep 12, 2019Evangeline Gentle's self-titled album is a triumph. The album is the first major release by the young musician, but for those of us who have been following their career — first in Peterborough, then Toronto — it's a satisfying expression of an artist discovering their sound.
Gentle is a powerful artist. Their signature sprawling phrases are elevated above generic coffeehouse shtick by unpredictable melodies and arrangements. The gentle banjo that kicks in after the first chorus in "Ordinary People" is unexpected, and it adds a dreamy playfulness to an otherwise sentimental song. These are interesting, vibrant tracks; there's a lot going on, but it works.
The album was produced by Jim Bryson, who captures Gentle's raw vulnerability without compromising production value. A longtime collaborator of Kathleen Edwards and Oh Susanna, Bryson adds a contemporary pop flavour to Gentle's stripped-down style, with just a hint of Americana.
Gentle's sombre vocals cut through complicated supporting arrangements that never feel excessive or distracting. This is a highly listenable album from start to finish. (Coax)