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|4.0 excellent||zillah | February 13th 12|
There's a lot of great Canadian music out there, but not so much great music about *being* Canadian. Christine Fellows' fifth studio album is a great album about being Canadian, sung in both English and very-good-but-not-from-the-cradle French. It's also a folk album in the proper sense: it's about time and place, about humble people living humble, glorious, bittersweet lives. "Mlle Steno" tells the story of a girl who "went back to school, got liberated", which meant allowing her to get a job as a typist in the major's office and eventually be promoted to the city clerk's assistant. There's plenty of melancholy, but where even the best modern folk albums sometimes get self-serious and draggy (e.g. The Middle East), Fellows always keeps her touch light and her choruses rousing and vaguely off-kilter. The plaintive vocals take a little bit of getting used to, but once past that, this is one of the most likeable and lasting records I've heard in a very long time.
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