Album Review: Gabrielle Papillon – The Tempest of Old

Beauty is such a subjective thing, especially when dealing with music.  So many people strive for flawless production values that provide a sterility and false sense of perfection in the creation of their music.

Canadian singer-songwriter Gabrielle Papillon provides beauty through a gorgeous capturing of imperfections and mood-creating production. Combining those elements with strong songwriting and an ability to provide a pop hook without coating her entire project in sugary irrelevance, The Tempest of Old provides the listener with a worthwhile journey from beginning to end.

Imperfection is not a word one would usually like associated with their artistic creation, but art is human and humanity is imperfect. While the songs are correctly done and the vocals/lyrics are delivered with conviction and feeling, it is the production of the songs that teeter on the line between polished and distorted.  As on the opening track, “Got You Well,” the slightly overdriven vocals, distorted guitars, handclaps, and a banjo create a dirty, yet captivating mix of sounds. However, not to dwell on a single sound, Papillon captures the whimsy of a string band-based folk tune on songs like “Kentucky in the Dark.”

One of the hardest things to do in music is to create an album with enough variance in sound to captivate an audience from the opening notes until the end, but Papillon does so with seemingly little effort on this release. Her songs, combined with a talented host of backing musicians, stay true enough to each other to create a cohesive work while providing an array of sounds.

While this had been out for a few weeks in Canada, it hits the shelves in the U.S. on Friday, September 25th; go check it out to see for yourself how strong of an album this is.

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Samuel Barker

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