Best Vancouver albums of 2016: Skye Wallace – ‘Something Wicked’ (self-released)

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Although Skye Wallace’s 2014 debut album LIVING PARTS existed in perpetual twilight, a runaway energy exuded from its expansive landscapes in which she could easily have been imagined riding horseback across dewy, misty terrains. Producer Jim Bryson picked up on this triumphant kinetic energy when he saw her perform at last year’s Calgary Folk Music Festival and helped her maximize it in the studio.

The resulting album, Something Wicked, is bolder, stronger, and more daring than its predecessor, landing closer to folk rock and even twangy blues rock. Strings and uptempo percussion and rhythms are less preoccupied with creating ambience. Wallace’s voice rises to match her band’s energy and volume as she sings with disarming vigour and greater candor: for the first time, she’s largely traded narrative fiction & non-fiction for tales drawn from her own life.

Whether inspired by the living history that surrounds her throughout her travels across Canada or motivated by events in her personal life, Skye Wallace is a storyteller at heart. Maybe we can never truly tell fact from fiction in her writing, but it’s always alluring to imagine something wicked.

Standout track – “Not Ready for This to Start”

See the rest of my picks at Vancouver Weekly.

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