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Johanna and the Dusty Floor

The Forest EP

(Red Valise; US: 16 Nov 2010; UK: Import)

Haunted When the Minutes (Don’t) Drag

Johanna and the Dusty Floor is the brainchild of Johanna Cranitch, an Australian-born songstress and pianist who has transplanted herself to New York City, armed with the five songs that make up her debut, The Forest EP. A student of jazz at the Australian Institute of Music, Cranitch comes across as an updated version of Kate Bush – there’s even a reference to the latter’s The Red Shoes in the song “Witch Shoes”. However, there is much more to this sound than that comparison might tell. Johanna and the Dusty Floor wouldn’t have been out of place on Canada’s Nettwerk Records in the early 1990s, which both Sarah McLachlan and the ethereal, female-fronted Rose Chronicles called home. There’s also a certain vibe to the songs on this album that recalls Christine McVie, not just in songwriting style, but in that Cranitch shares a seemingly deep Contralto vocal range with the Fleetwood Mac singer at times. It must be said, though, that Cranitch possesses an astonishing range, being able to hit some particularly high notes, too. The songs are well constructed and lush, although “The City” and “Love is a Breakable Thing” feel truncated somehow, and the bouncy doo wop of “Spring Clean” seems out of sorts with the icy, morose beauty of the other songs. Clocking in just shy of 16 minutes, this EP actually leaves you wanting more, so here’s hoping that Cranitch’s first full length album isn’t too far off.

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Zachary Houle is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee for his short fiction, and the recipient of a writing arts grant from the City of Ottawa. He has had journalism published in SPIN magazine, The National Post (Canada), Canadian Business, and more.


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