"You sing pretty and powerfully, have a killer pop band that can rock, and are smart and poetic. Is "funrock" a word? I hope so. It's LITERATE FUNROCK. That's what you do. Well."
-David Newberry, BA, MA, Musician, Sibling
As you hit play on THE ODDS, you are gently invited into the process by it's title track. The Odds sets the tone for the album, sonically and lyrically, drifting in waves of synth-pop melodic thoughts that give you the impression you are heading somewhere. Because you are. If there was a sense of safely found in the title tracks, though, it ends in a sea of static that transitions joltingly into Distance, a cutting, hook-driven banger that wastes no time in introducing the album-wide theme of having to choose between comfort and courage.
"I'm up and away like a bird from a bird cage," Newberry sings in To Kill, again driving home the conflict at the heart of her album, "but like everything goes, it hits the windows..."
Avoiding the pitfalls that so many artists face when they shift from a songwriter-based sound to one that embraces pop, Sue and her team have navigated themselves into the digital world of drum-loops and synth-pads in a way that only increases the intimacy for the listener. Even the most processed moments elicit very authentic emotions, with audio-landscapes frequently reminiscent of the natural world. While moments like the wordless breakdown of Static! blend human and machine into a frightening singularity, the musicianship of the band - especially notable in their layered vocal harmonies - constantly reminds us of the fact that this music is driven by real people who have mastered their craft.
Sue's name is deservedly front-and-centre on this collection, but the fact that this is a team effort is palpable. David Hermiston (Donovan Woods) returns as engineer, while the production was handled by the multi-talented Bret Higgins (Great Lake Swimmers, Sarah Slean, Atlas Revolt). What takes this collection to the next level, however, is the post-production work of Joshua Van Tassel (Amelia Curran, Justin Rutledge, David Myles). The band handed their nearly-complete songs to Josh, who - à la Brian Eno - nudged, sculpted, sequenced and soundscaped their compositions into an incredibly well-finished set of work. The result perfectly balances raw live performance with a contemporary sonic landscape as welcome on heavy-rotation pop radio as it would be int he earbuds of musical connoisseurs. Steve Major mixed and mastered the album at Verge Music. Fans of Haim, Metric, Bon Iver and Daniel Lanois-era Emmylou Harris will find themselves home inside this recording.
It is music that will move your head, your hips, and your heart. If you didn't know before, you know now. You are going to love this record.
THE LAW IS:
Mim Adams - keys & vox
Matt Longo - bass & vox
Dan Nicks - synth & vox
Colin Weadick - guitar
Michael Laing - percussion
"...She's breaking ground in the music scene and its boring old doldrums. Newberry's going to wake everyone up." (Eastern Ontario EMC)