Kathryn Calder’s “Are You My Mother?”

“With ‘Are You My Mother?,’ Kathryn Calder has rightfully staked her claim as a relevant solo artist.” -LW

Lindsey Whitefield

9
out of 10

Kathryn Calder
Are You My Mother?
August 10, 2010
File Under Music

Kathyn Calder. Love.

I am not sure that anything I can say here will truly do justice the beauty of this album.  Calder’s voice, feminine, clear, and unwavering presents her take on the sublime nature of life, long the domain of musicians, poets, painters, and novelists. The range of emotions she shares with the listener run the gamut from sadness to happiness, to grief, to hope, to triumph. Yet while this description may sound painfully chick-rock, Calder manages to pull it off with a sort of effortless-hip surely cultivated in her time in the Indie Pop scene with Immaculate Machine and then New Pornographers (the listener will understandably hear the influence of both in Are You My Mother?).

Softer, more emotional ballads “Slip Away” (accompanied by New Pornographers drummer Kurt Dahle), “So Easily” (harmonizing with Neko Case) and “Arrow” intermingle with more uplifting and perhaps danceable “Castor” and “Pollux” and folksy, Simon-and-Garfunkle-esque “If You Only Knew” and “Follow Me Into the Hills” (joined by former Immaculate Machine drummer Luke Kozlowski), culminating in encore-worthy “All It Is.”

With “Are You My Mother?,” Kathryn Calder has rightfully staked her claim as a relevant solo artist; the album exhibits not only her obvious talent but also her range and versatility as a musician. Though she has stated that she will not take time away from New Pornographers to tour and promote her personal work, I certainly hope she continues to explore.