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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

MARTA PACEK "Rebel Baby" CD review

MARTA PACEK “Rebel Baby”

The title of Marta Pacek’s third record is truly deceiving. The word rebel conjures up either cinema icon James Dean or Civil War re-enactors pointing bayonets at each other on sweltering July weekends in Gettysburg. Pacek is neither of these things. In fact, her songs and her music aren’t so much against the status quo as they are a measure of her ability to alter the perception of the music listener. A rebellion would mean a single, monosyllabic drive against authority. Instead, what we have on this record is controlled anarchic diversity – it pushes AND pulls simultaneously. Hmm…maybe that’s the rebel’s job after all. Pacek flirts with all manner of country-equated styles throughout the 12 tracks: Canadiana (“These Days”, “Milk & Honey”, “A Way to Fall”, “Nobody’s Crying”), uptempo and boppy 1950s Kitty Wells-styled shuffles (“A Girl Gets By”, “Over to Your Side”), Edith Piafian Romanish/Gypsy folk (“Twisted With Love”, “Let Me Down”), Alt-Country (“Back In the Middle”, “Annie”), and even melodic Everything But the Girl post-punk Brit pop (“In the Name of Love”, “Think It Over”). Pacek’s voice recalls the more dynamic pursuits of Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins and 10,000 Maniacs’ Natalie Merchant. There’s a little for everyone here and repeated listens reveal the subtle contributions of the album’s other players including the guitar presence of co-writer Neil Murchison. Pacek herself wrote, co-wrote and co-produced the majority of tracks on the album with the lone ‘cover’ tune being “Nobody’s Crying” by Patty Griffin. The album is a great collaborative listen and is recommended for those looking for something completely removed from the Country music genre but orbiting the same solar system. Marta Pacek Website

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