Angela Desveaux: Wandering Eyes

A country album that works as bright, enjoyable pop music.

Angela Desveaux

Wandering Eyes

Label: Thrill Jockey
US Release Date: 2006-09-12
UK Release Date: 2006-09-11

In a year where the combination of pop, rock, country, and airy female vocals seems to have become the hot new trend, Angela Desveaux's new album falls right in line. It may seem strange, and a bit facetious, for someone born in south Montreal to "do" country, yet she spent her early years in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. And if there's any place that understands the solace and loneliness that country can bring out, it's the Maritimes of Canada. Without even hearing the album, you understand that this album isn't by some fly-by-night faker, but someone who can truly relate to the soul of country music.

Yet even with the bluegrass and country elements that pervade this album, Wandering Eyes somehow turns into a wonderful little pop album. The feeling of desolation perfected by artists such as Lucinda Williams, who Desveaux cites as an influence, comes along with, and is often superseded by, an upbeat pop feel. This isn't whiskey-stained, tear-soaked sadness; this is more bouncing joy than anything else. As Desveaux tells it, the work isn't very acoustic, as she worked with a full-fledged rock band in the album's creation. The result is a playful mix of genres, and an entertaining and enjoyable collection of songs.

For the most part, the songs that work the best are the upbeat ones. They bring out the effervescence of Desveaux's voice. The opener, "Heartbeat", with its jangling guitars, is a nice little song about longing. The title track, "Wandering Eyes", is another pop-inflected number propelled by strong drumming. There is also the resplendent "All the Talk", with a snaking rock guitar sound and a shimmering chorus.

The only moments that seem to meander are the instances when the album slows down, when the shining pop makes way for slow, acoustic heartbreak. This includes the fourth track, the five and half minute "If Only", as well as the next track "Bury Me Deeper", which slow down the momentum created by the first three tracks. However, the following track "Sick of Fools", picks the pace back up and the album finishes on a strong note.

This album, in some ways, has a lot in common with another Canadian songstress who released a country-inflected album this year, Amy Millan. Like Millan's work, Desveaux's album is nominally country, yet the pop elements are noticeably present, and noticeably the best parts of the album. Desveaux is a confessed Gram Parsons fan, and her work, a blend of country with other genres, lives up to Parsons' standard of great work.





The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.


ONO Confronts American Racial Oppression with the Incendiary 'Red Summer'

Decades after their initial formation, legendary experimentalists ONO have made an album that's topical, vital, uncomfortable, and cathartic. Red Summer is an essential documentation of the ugliness and oppression of the United States.


Silent Women Filmmakers No Longer So Silent: Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers

The works of silent filmmakers Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers were at risk of being forever lost. Kino Lorber offers their works on Blu-Ray. Three cheers for film historians and film restoration.


Rush's 'Permanent Waves' Endures with Faultless Commercial Complexity

Forty years later, Rush's ability to strike a nearly perfect balance between mainstream invitingness and exclusory complexity is even more evident and remarkable. The progressive rock classic, Permanent Waves, is celebrating its 40th anniversary.


Drum Machines? Samples? Brendan Benson Gets Contemporary with 'Dear Life'

Powerpop overlord and part-time Raconteur, Brendan Benson, grafts hip-hop beats to guitar pop on his seventh solo album, Dear Life.


'Sell You Everything' Brings to Light Buzzcocks '1991 Demo LP' That Passed Under-the-Radar

Cherry Red Records' new box-set issued in memory of Pete Shelley gathers together the entire post-reunion output of the legendary Buzzcocks. Across the next week, PopMatters explores the set album-by-album. First up is The 1991 Demo LP.


10 Key Tracks From the British Synthpop Boom of 1980

It's 40 years since the first explosion of electronic songs revitalized the UK charts with futuristic subject matter, DIY aesthetics, and occasionally pompous lyrics. To celebrate, here's a chronological list of those Moog-infused tracks of 1980 that had the biggest impact.

Reading Pandemics

Poe, Pandemic, and Underlying Conditions

To read Edgar Allan Poe in the time of pandemic, we need to appreciate a very different aspect of his perspective—not that of a mimetic artist but of the political economist.


'Yours, Jean' Is a Perfect Mixture of Tragedy, Repressed Desire, and Poor Impulse Control

Lee Martin's Yours, Jean is a perfectly balanced and heartbreaking mix of true crime narrative and literary fiction.


The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D
Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.