Oh, My Darling
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2008, Volume 15, #2
Written by Douglas Heselgrave
Mon February 11, 2008, 07:30 AM CST
The promotional materials that accompany Oh, My Darling — the debut from Basia Bulat — make the claim that "she found her songs and stories dangling from the trees." While this sort of proclamation might have the effect of sending more jaded music fans running in the opposite direction, it quite accurately describes the aesthetics of these often lovely, if overly precious songs. There is something very elfin and gypsy-like about the tunes on Oh, My Darling, and whether or not one enjoys them depends entirely on how much one is willing to suspend his or her cynicism and allow Bulat to take charge.
Over the course of Oh, My Darling’s 13 songs — which total roughly 38 minutes in length — Bulat’s lovely voice and sparsely arranged tunes explore a variety of situations, ranging from romance and betrayal to birth and death. Looking like a pixie-ish Britney Spears in Stevie Nicks hand-me-downs, Bulat is something of an enigma. However beautiful and talented she may be, her songs illuminate a world of transience, longing, and disappointment, thus providing an indication that she knows full well that looks alone are not enough to get a person through life.
As Bulat is only 24-years-old, her lyrics naturally reflect the experiences of a young woman who is coming to terms with her existence and her place in the universe. In this way, Oh, My Darling shares its vulnerability and honesty with albums like Joni Mitchell’s Blue and Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut. These are songs without emotional filters, and consequently, they are unfettered in their expression and idealism. It is impossible not to cringe, at times, while listening to her tales of disappointment and renewal. Yet, her compositions also serve as a reminder of early post-adolescence, when everything is a matter of life and death, and compromise is a word that never is spoken.
Eastern Canada is experiencing a roots-music renaissance, of late, and Bulat is the most recent proponent of a unique regional style that is gaining an audience throughout the Western world. With the release of Oh, My Darling, she joins company with an array of like-minded performers — such as Arcade Fire, Great Lake Swimmers, and Leslie Feist — all of whom are making some of the most exciting Canadian music to be released since the early heyday of Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Neil Young. If Oh, My Darling is any indication, Bulat will mature into an enduring artist who will make challenging music in the years to come. Whatever the future may hold, though, Oh, My Darling is an entertaining and worthwhile endeavor, one that certainly is worth hearing more than once.
Of Further Interest...
Oh, My Darling is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box