Canadian Musician - January / February - Page 38

RAISING TH EIR VO I C E S By Andrew King As of right now, just a few days before Christmas, there’s a chance that U.S. a capella group Pentatonix will have the best-selling holiday album for the fourth year in a row. That’d be an impressive feat indeed, but even three confirmed and consecutive years at the top is something almost unrivalled in the past several decades. It’s an interesting juxta- position that, at a time when the charts are so dominated by tracks created mostly (or entirely) in the digital domain, a group whose output is com- prised entirely of human voices is amassing such impressive achievements. Couple that with the success of media like the Pitch Perfect films or Glee’s six-season run and you’ve got strong evidence for the fact that people are just naturally drawn to the human voice. With that, we wanted to profile a few innovative artists who are doing very interest- ing things with the oldest music-making tool in human history. 38 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N The Good Lovelies Shape Shifting The Good Lovelies have built a prosperous career atop their unique blend of genres, eras, and of course, voices. Their latest LP, Shapeshifters, finds the trio of Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough, and Sue Passmore pushing their brand of country-tinged folk mu- sic to a new pop-inspired plateau while keeping anchored in the wholesome, harmony-rich sounds of their past releases. The result is an inspired and compelling collection that’s sure to earn them some new admirers while satisfy- ing their longtime fans; however, while Brooks is pleased with the balance they’ve struck, she says they weren’t really looking to appease anyone but themselves. “We sort of let go of a lot of that, ‘Let’s make sure it sounds like us’ idea in the studio,” she explains. “The way we sing together and blend our vocals – that’s what makes it sound like us, as opposed to which genre we’re play- ing in or whatever else we’re aiming for.” For The Good Lovelies, voices are more than just voices; “they’re instruments to us,” Brooks explains. “Sometimes we’re singing parts that might otherwise be a violin, or even horns. For us, it’s about more than just getting lyrics out.” In that regard, Shapeshifters showcases a new incarnation of the group’s now-signature sound, but one that still has clear connections to the ground they’ve covered in the past – from the simple feel-good melodies of their earliest work to the more varied and adventur- ous territory covered on 2015’s Burn the Plan. The Good Lovelies travelled from their respective homes in Ontario and Newfound- land to Nova Scotia in order to cut the record