Kathryn Calder, 'Bright and Vivid' (File Under: Music)

Bright and Vivid
Critical Mass
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Label: File Under: Music

by Jon Young

Though she's now one of the key players -- after originally subbing for Neko Case -- in overstaffed power-pop collective the New Pornographers (headed by her uncle, Carl Newman), Kathryn Calder is best heard in solo mode. On the lovely Bright and Vivid, a more accomplished sequel to last year's Are You My Mother?, she masters the art of hiding in plain sight, concealing a sweetly sad voice in soft clouds of pretty noise. Less fidgety than the New Pornos, impressionistic sketches like "Walking in My Sleep" and "City of Sounds" (on which Calder sighs, "Home is where I cannot go") blend vagueness and anxiety in a way that's deeply unsettling.

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