“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.” William Faulkner was known not just for long sentences, but also his ability to so luridly set a scene with just a single phrase. That ability is echoed in the debut release from Canadian indie folkies Leaf Rapids. Lucky Stars is anything but a debut, though, with husband-and-wife Keri and Devin Latimer having a rich history on the Canadian music scene and third member Steve Dawson a resume as a multi-Juno winning producer.
Roughly the first third of the album gets you accustomed to the sounds of the group. Vocalist Keri hits you right off with a turn on kind-of an 80’s pop song, Virtual Machine, about your television, and features her playing theremin. She also stands out on the title track, a semi-tragic country waltz. Devin holds down the rhythm on bass throughout. Dawson is the multi-instrumentalist, showcasing a sweet dobro sound on April and a little slide guitar action on Everything In Between.
The record picks up intensity in the middle, starting with Healing Feeling, a 70’s sounding pop song that I can just as easily imagine coming from Marvin Gaye. Lyrically, things start getting serious now, too, with Welcome Stranger and its capture of one of the endearing qualities of life in a small town.
By the final third, things get magical. Galaxie 500 so beautifully captures more of the small town feeling, and not just any small town but one in northern Canada. “4 in the morning at 40 below, there’s a blue so deep it seeps into your dreams.” The album finishes with a cover of David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World. But unless you’re a Bowie fan, you’ll never listen to that version again. Dawson and the Latimers inject it with electric organ, wah-wah guitar and a Bond theme song vocal style. The result is practically an entire Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez movie treatment in six minutes. Thank goodness for Repeat on my iPhone.