Having already released a solo album, for her latest project Juno winner Keri Latimer has teamed up with husband Devin Latimer as Leaf Rapids, named after a town in north west Manitoba, who also happens to play bass in Nathan, the Winnipeg roots outfit she co-fronts and with whom she’s recorded four albums.
Lucky Star is a generally country-oriented affair (with some typically dark lyrics), although the opening track Virtual Machine, on which she plays theramin, is a more summery pop number, the opening and underpinning melody line reminiscent of 60s Fleetwoods hit Come Softly To Me. Now, at this point, I have to say that her delicate voice which has occasional flecks of a young Dolly Parton may prove an acquired taste for some. That said, there’s plenty of variety to please the ear.
April underscores its mountain music roots with banjo (played, as are the bulk of the instruments, by producer Steve Dawson), fiddle and a twang to her vocals, Healing Feeling has a 70s soul groove, the chugging Gravity and a Ladder of Gold, with Dawson on harmonies, is very early Parton. Galaxie 500 (named for the car rather than Dean Wareham’s former band) is a dreamy four in the morning, pedal steel sparkled ode to life in a small mining town and the steel and theramin-weeping slow waltz title track tells of her mother-in-law’s undying love for her late husband as she waits to be reunited.
Elsewhere, Welcome Stranger has psychedelic strokes and both the muscular stream-of-consciousness Agent Of The Night and the swirlingly atmospheric Vulture Lullaby venture into desert noir territory, the former featuring Dawson on slide guitar.
They also throw in a couple of covers. First up is a lovely, spacious (as are most cuts) and mid-tempo pedal-steel laden version of The Handsome Family’s Don’t Be Scared, but the real eye-opener is their take on Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World, here remolded into a six minute spooked Tarantino meets The Doors spaghetti-Western theme tune with theramin, electric piano, wah-wah guitar and a truly mesmerisingly coy but knowing vocal from Latimer. The last line of Virtual Machine talks about being sated and serene. This album may well make you feel precisely that.
Review by: Mike Davies
The Man Who Sold The World
Out Now on Black Hen Music
Order via Amazon