Review Summary: The voice of Kezia puts on her shitkickers and churns out a promising, catchy blend of folk and country.
Most who'll stumble upon this review will perhaps best recognize Jadea Kelly as the voice of Kezia on Protest the Hero's 2005 release of the same name, but anyone who frequents Toronto bars such as the Dakota Tavern or the Cameron House will also know her as a key cog in the ever-growing folk and country scenes currently--
expanding across the city. Eastbound Platform
, Kelly's second album, is a testament to the scene's prominence and proficiency; on it, Kelly enlists the help of a venerable who's-who of Toronto roots musicians to help establish her evolution as a vocalist and
succeeds as much because of its communal approach as it does in spite of it, as Kelly leans on her contemporaries without relying on them as a crutch. Even on “Hazel” or “The Sound--
written by Jack Marks and Justin Rutledge/David Baxter respectively--
Kelly uses her quiet confidence and unique delivery to make every word her own. “Heavy Heart” wouldn't be the best song on the album were its soulful, bluesy southern stomp not accompanied a haunting contingency of backing vocalists, but it's compliments survive by Kelly's own talents as a performer; they highlight her talents rather than overshadowing them. On Eastbound Platform
, Kelly's successes are her own. By the same accord, its failures--
of which there are a few--
are her own as well. While Kelly's charisma does at times remind me of a young Regina Spektor (in s
hitkickers), it sounds at times like she might be playing it safe. There isn't a weak track to be found on Eastbound Platform
, but tracks like “Elevator” and “All Wrong” have a tendency to coast before and after their main hooks and on the latter of the two Kelly's increasingly wailing vocals do risk becoming a little grating.
While balancing Kelly's poppier sensibilities with her country and folk roots is a task that will grow increasingly difficult with each albums, Eastbound Platform
is one hell of a good start. Catherine MacLellan and Kathleen Edwards might want to start looking over their shoulders, as Eastbound Platform
has established Jadea Kelly as one of Canada's premiere up-and-comers.