Hey more Canadians. I love Canada simply because of the amount of music that comes my way from there, and this time around it’s not from the depths of hell or the more mellow middle ground but from singer-songwriter Jeen with her new solo album Tourist. It’s a simple, honest record that just wants to have a beginning, middle and end, and also blow your mind with sweetness and sadness.
Lead single Buena Vista kicks off Tourist with a gritty, dirty sound as a rolling drumbeat and distorted guitar riffs through the tense atmosphere to add some badass-ness to this first impression. The whispered vocals and eventual harmonies during the chorus as well as the general feel of this song makes me feel like I’ve done something very bad and that I should be running because I’m in great danger, and it’s a superb sense of emergency. Usually opening tracks ease the listener into the record, but Buena Vista leaves me shaking in my boots.
This Western-y sound continues on tracks such as No Fade which features many, many glints of great riffage to cement the fact that Jeen can deliver some good fucking riffs. Backyard takes things down a notch as the stripped instrumental makes way for some harmonics and vocal performances and hand claps to deliver this more cutesy sound on the record. It’s tip-toe rhythm makes it easy to have a smile on your face, and it’s just really, really good.
My personal highlight has got to be NY Island. I’m a sucker for UK singer-songwriters like Kate Nash and Eliza Doolittle but this track makes me want to forget those girls and marry Jeen right now. The upbeat instrumental has me almost delirious with joy, and the way that Jeen manages to throw basslines, melodies, harmonies and even drums that don’t seem to quit makes it all the more fantastic. The vocals are top notch as always, and the hook, good lord the hook has me caught. So good.
Tourist is also not afraid to add a little sadness to it’s material as tracks like Sad Boy are self-explanatory but also songs like Everywhere I Go and Way Up sound like uplifting, you-can-do-this numbers while the piano-only Orange closes out the album with one final push of sombreness to make the listener’s final impression of it as bittersweet as possible. While inbetween these songs Jeen makes sure to fill the gaps with so much catchiness you could shake fifteen sticks at it, let alone just one.
All in all Tourist is a superb album that somehow transcends being more than just somebody’s “solo record”. It is catchy from start to finish, with some songs focusing more on instrumentation and accessibility while others concentrate on tugging on the heartstrings just a tad. There are some brilliant highlights scattered evenly on this album, and I will definitely be listening to it all year round. Stream Buena Vista below, and for more music reviews, free downloads and I LOVE YOU check out Exploding Head Syndrome on Facebook and Twitter.