Vanessa Cardui - Thought Experiment
I have, for years now, cautiously dabbled in the realm of more traditional-leaning singer/songwriters. It's never been my accustomed or fallback outlet of musical stylings, but I often find comfort in a more quiet and pensive approach to the art. It's been quite a pleasure having a chance to hear Vanessa Cardui, a young and quite attractive (if I may say so myself) multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter out of Calgary. She has spent a good amount of time with her main project, the cleverly named Heroincredible, and this is her initial offering of her own imagining. I've read that she's had a certain amount of assistance on Thought Experiment, but I cannot truly discern where and how, and I am want to assume the lump sum of the music was all concucted and portrayed by Vanessa herself. Regardless, there is much to enjoy here.
Foremost in the mix of almost the entire album is Vanessa herself, her voice something which I've had a hard time finding words to accurately describe. There is a power to her vocals, but it remains reserved and, for lack of a better word, polite, for the most part. It never loses it's edge, a strong and demanding presense that patiently weaves tales of love in all of it's mystic, lustful, and beautiful forms. It is an unwavering constant within a shifting collection of creative compositions. "Where Poetry Fails" is a wide-open and breezy opener, a reflection on love as an ocean of longing and contemplation. Tightly reserved percussive flourishes and the imagery of a shore licked by the waves of a vast ocean conjure an immediate and warm atmosphere, a perfect choice to introduce the album. "Before She Falls Asleep" is a pensive description of an innocent and blissful romance that sounds absolutely prepared for modern country radio rotation. It has an underlying hook that sinks right in comfortably. "Righteous" stood out for me as a stark contrast to the previous upbeat numbers, much more moody and brooding, slowly building in volume and aggression but keeping an even head of steam. "Reflections on a Goddess Crowned in Light" is an interesting spoken-word piece, and it seems to be a transition into the remainder of the album. It certainly expresses Vanessa's ability to write a moving set of lyrics without the need of musical accompaniment. "Keep Pouring Love On' is a truly beautiful song, bright and touching without falling into the dreaded abyss of cliche. The rest of the album contains it's moments of pure inspired excellence, some lesser than others but ultimately the entire picture is a cohesive and enjoyable one.
One may find more to love about Thought Experiment than I ultimately did, and as I related at the onset of this review, I am nothing more than a dabbler into this realm of musical creation. While Vanessa Cardui's limitations are nowhere to be seen, mine are met as the album ends. An enjoyable experience to be sure, it is hard for me to find a place and time where Thought Experiement would make for the ideal soundtrack. Perhaps, in a better world, in a peaceful place far away from the din and ado of our hectic and frustration daily lives. In fact, I may have just intimated exactly what Vanessa was aiming for here; an escape from the doldrums into an atmospheric embrace of the warming, healing aspects of love and affections. There are darker moments to be had, for sure, but you get a sense that even the most difficult aspects of Vanessa's life, as she relates them to us in majestic and steadfast grace and skill, have a light at the end of their respective tunnels. I can only say to you, after all this description and criticizing, to listen for yourself. It moved me, and I think it may move you, depending on how you are, far more than that.
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