By Nick Laugher
Idée Fixe Records
The fourth album by Toronto singer-songwriter Jennifer Castle, Pink City, sees her unleashing a deluge of luscious melodies and wry lyrics that wax poetic about everything from rural Canadian living to the frustration of relationships. Castle’s sweet and spectral voice billows out over minimalistic instrumentation, curling up and burrowing straight through to the heart, begging to be clutched close.
The record walks a tightrope between country drawl and deeply mournful piano ballads, and the production is simple and beautiful, with Castle wielding a sonic Occam’s razor and excising anything that gets in the way of her gorgeous melodies.
Lyrically, she tip-toes around themes of love and loss, embracing solitude on “Sailing Away” as she sings “Don’t need a home/I don’t need a lover/I’ll be out on my own come hell or high water.” However, by the time the album closes with the sexy sax-laden title track, she’s reconciled with the idea of romance, albeit hesitantly. Closing the album, she sweetly but guardedly croons, “I’m finding new romance at last,” letting the last note hang ever so mournfully and open-endedly, as if asking a question.
With jaw-dropping melodies and beautifully sparse production, Pink City has cemented Castle as a master of her craft, and one of Canada’s most poetic and inspiring songwriters.Jennifer Castle, Pink City