Kathryn Calder: Are You My Mother?

Music Reviews Kathryn Calder
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Kathryn Calder: Are You My Mother?

Don’t cry for her

Kathryn Calder, who usually splits her time between Immaculate Machine and The New Pornographers, recorded her debut solo album at home while caring for her terminally ill mother. That alone makes this album a supreme act of bravery; the songs’ alluring sparkle and lilt redouble its value.

A melancholy current courses through each of the 10 tracks, but Calder seems intent on celebrating life’s varied slopes and valleys. “So Easily”—all wan, folky strum and multi-tracked vocal honey—delivers a bruising chorus that sneaks in again and again. The shaggy “If You Only Knew” would make for a harvest-fest dance gem, and the piano-recital pomp of “Low” is less a requiem than a cozy rallying cry for navel-gazers everywhere. Members of The New Pornographers, Ladyhawke and Frog Eyes chip in, but Calder’s confident voice and commanding presence anchors it all; she’s the one mourning, but she’ll likely wind up comforting you.