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Kensington Prairie

Captured in Still Life

(Anniedale; US: Available as import; UK: Unavailable; Canada release date: Apr 2008)

Happy surprises like this are what make writing reviews worth all the flaming poop bags on my doorstep. Coming out of nowhere, the debut album from Vancouver’s own Kensington Prairie is a slice of happiness pie. Centering on the sweetly nostalgic voice of founding Maplewood Lane chanteuse Rebecca Rowan, Captured in Still Life joins the teenage wistfulness of Sixpence None The Richer, the contemplative indie nature of Young & Sexy, and the alt. country twang of The Buttless Chaps. On top of that, they pack in a touch of organ, mandolin, piano, and a laundry list of vibraphones, xylophones, and what-a-phones. These are not the songs of the revolution and won’t noticeably change the world, but they are addictively sweet and very impressive for Vancouver unknowns. In fact, they’re solid enough that two tracks have already been picked up for a new CBC prime-time series called Heartland. Rebecca’s vocals are more moving than anything in the Feist catalogue, while her arrangements (heavily featuring producer Jonathan Anderson) are charmingly rich but not swamped. Simply put, it’s a nice CD, no more, no less.

Rating:

Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.


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