If there is one thing that has always been true about Julie Doiron, it’s that she’s honest, almost to a fault, at times. This is important because on her newest record, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day, sheÂ sounds honestly and truly happy, which is new territory for both us and her. This is no more apparent than on the album’s closer “Glad To Be Alive,” where she sings “Everyday/Everynight/I tell myself in this beautiful light/That I’m glad to be alive.” The whole album echoes her newly found sunny disposition which makes this album a great listen.
This is not to say that Doiron’s lyrics are always a total downer but that she is often quiet and contemplative, singing about broken relationships and missed opportunities. Whatever the reason, Doiron has a new outlook on things, which is even clear by just flipping the album over and looking at the track names: “The Life Of Dreams,” “Lovers of the World,” “Nice to Come Home,” and the aforementioned “Glad to Be Alive” are a few examples.
This epiphany on life is not the only thing new here, as this album also finds Doiron exploring a heavier sound, with half of the songs being played with distorted guitars that recall The Jesus and Mary Chain or My Bloody Valentine where the grunginess of the distortion never seems to drown out the melody and emotion of the vocals. This is nowhere more apparent than on “Consolation Prize” where Doiron and company let out a great grunge guitar freak-out in the middle of the song which goes on a psychedelic binge with sounds of breaking glass and strange distorted guitars before Doiron’s vocals bring the song back into a clear focus by singing “You’ve got the hard consolation prize/ for having to survive.”
This is just one example of many throughout the album of the genius of the recording to keep Doiron’s vocals front-and-center at all times and to never let them be drowned out or pushed towards the back by the instrumentation. Doiron’s vocals have always been her biggest draw, not only because she has a sweet, angelic voice that is easily comparable to Feist, but also because her lyrics always seem like a personal confession that she would write in her diary. Here, the lyrics never seem to take the downer side even when you suspect them to go that way. On “When Brakes Get Wet,” she sings over percussion that sounds like raindrops “When brakes get wet/we’ll hope for the best” which is so refreshing to hear in an era that is so quick to see the negative.
While Julie Doiron never seems to take you anywhere you haven’t been before, this is a journey that is refreshing to travel through. Doiron’s newfound optimism rubs off easily and you can’t help but feel a little better about wherever you might be in your life. By the end of one listen to this album, you might be glad to be alive too.
All photos courtesy of Julie Doiron.com