Hidden Pony Records
I don’t know why we aren’t calling this the “Canadian Invasion,” but there’s a nonstop wave of wonderful pop bands coming across the 49th parallel these days. One of the best is the effortless pop duo consisting of singer Marti Sarbit, the “multi-instrumentalist” Rusty Matyas, and a band of unidentified backup players. Their stylings are solidly pop, but allow for the occasional circumambulation of extended and never boring solos. Sarbit projects one of those great pop voices that can cross over between rock, pop, country, and maybe even opera for all I know. Her haunting opening to “Say You” makes you catch your breath, and as the song of lost love flows, your focus is entirely on her voice. Behind it you’ll hear compelling tunes, but it’s hard to focus on them. The bubbly pop of “Hummingbird” and the rambunctious synth anger of “Don’t Cry” fade behind her, and it takes several listens to get the whole glorious construct of the songs. This might be one of the great pop albums of the year; it mixes exciting composing with skilled playing with the cherry of Sarbit’s voice. I’d say they don’t make albums like this anymore, but here it is on my overheated little hard drive.