By Kennedy Enns
CALGARY — Lauren Mann proclaims that the “world is a beautiful place,” and on the Calgary native’s latest release Dearestly, we broker a tinge of her optimism through effortlessly catchy songs as well as stripped down, natural ballads. Mann found herself Inspired by the glean of the ‘40s as well as the earnestness of “old Disney movies,” entranced by the whimsy and beauty present in both. Dearestly features tight harmonies that are easy to enjoy and each song is filled with heartfelt and sentimental lyrics. Whether the focus of the song is fun or covers some of the darker themes across the album, she demonstrates her songwriting talent.
Standout album cut “St. Lawrence” was inspired by an exploration of a small island off the coast of Quebec while on tour. The song’s chorus was written in English, but translated into French in order for Mann to pay homage to the idyllic island that helped inspire the sultry anthem.
Dearestly is meant to be experienced all at once, as Mann guides the listener through each of her songs, bookending each of its five distinct movements with an instrumental track, “Idyll” I through IV. Perfectly paced, she’ll have your foot tapping before you even notice in between her deeper, more introspective moments, which contrast and complement Dearestly’s overarching sensibilities.
After winning the CBC Searchlight contest in 2014, Lauren Mann is continually thankful for the exposure the contest has brought her even after she has re-invented her image. Having dropped the mantle “The Fairly Odd Folk,” Mann now has more freedom to explore her voice as a solo artist, as well as invite different artists to join as her back-up band, she promises fans that she’ll “always have a band playing with [her] and they’ll always be fairly odd folk.”
Lauren Mann performs October 5th in Edmonton at The Buckingham and October 9th in Calgary at the Ironwood Grill and Stage. More tour dates across the prairies can be found online.