Basia Bulat – Are You In Love?

Canadian singer/songwriter Basia Bulat has recently released her fifth studio album Are You In Love? This album was written at a contrasting point in Basia’s life when she fell in love but sadly lost her father.

This thirteen stack collection opens with the lush title track which with it’s string and understated ‘wall of sound’ feel could have been recorded by any of the great female 1960’s vocalists. Electric Roses has a more whimsical feeling to it opening with a long instrumental section before Basia’s vocals kick in at around the 45 second mark. The song takes on an accomplished feel with some lovely synth flourishes and could be at home on any number of 1980’s female artists’ albums. Your Girl has a more jazzy contemporary feel with flavours of Stevie Nicks’ solo work but without Stevie’s famously echoey voice.

Light Years opens with a country type flavour and Basia’s crystal clear vocals at their heartfelt best building into a beautiful song. Homesick is in full on country honky tonk mode even down to it’s slide guitar and twinkly piano before reaching a lovely crescendo of country pop. Hall of Mirrors is another country influenced track again with the sort of great touches that Wrecking Crew type musicians can put on songs almost from the Pet Sounds era peak of Brian Wilson creating his glorious soundscapes.

I Belive It Now is a brief 47 second interlude with synth background and whispered vocals giving this album even more of a 1960’s feel. No Control has a more contemporary soft rock tone to it and again showcases Basia’s fine voice. Pale Blue starts as if it will take the album back into reflective terrority but this track turns into a fine piece of AOR pop. Aldready Forgiven begins with a gentle almost spoken vocal before going into a moody slow burner of a track. The Last Time again has that classic country feel with muitiple instruments layering to the fore to become one of the most anthemic tracks on this oustanding collection of songs.

Fables takes us back to a more folky sound and highlights Basia’s reflective and intelligently insightful lyrics before the album ends with the appropriately titled Love is at the End of the World, which starts as what you think will be as a piano ballad before again building into the type of track this album excels at.

Basia turns 36 soon and if this album is anything yo go by might well be at her creative apex which has come at a contrasting time of joy and sorrow for her. A highly recommended listen for any fans of interesting 60’s influenced artists.

Mark Wakeman