My momma is a fount of wisdom, not all of it welcomed or invited, but she invokes her maternal right to say what’s on her mind regardless of my consternation. Like any counsel that comes from external sources, it’s not always easy to tell which to take with a grain or salt of spoon of sugar. That said, the hardest advice to swallow is usually our own, whether it comes as a kick-to-the-gut instinctual reaction, or wisdom garnered over time.
On her fourth album, Basia Bulat acts as her own best friend, dispensing wisdom in winsome pop nuggets meant to manage her own relationship woes. The aptly titled Good Advice is a personal, introspective album about the give and takes in love, life, friendship and work. As if willing herself to look on the bright side of things, the deeper Bulat seems to get lyrically, the more unrestrained and uplifting the arrangements to her music get. Opener “La La Lie” buoyantly carries Good Advice on a wave of bubbly choruses and full band arrangements. “In the Name Of”, “Fool” and the peerless “Infamous” follow suit, playfully executed pop songs that bristle with the raw emotions of Bulat’s best lyrics ever.
Bulat bears her soul and wears her heart prominently on the outside on contemplative ballads “Time” and the beautifully arranged closer “Someday Soon”. Like the bright red wash of colour on the album’s artwork, Good Advice is a bold, captivating record; like the disembodied hand reaching up to put her hair in place on that same sleeve, Bulat exudes a quiet strength, confident that, though time is usually the most objective arbiter of shoulds or shouldn’t-haves, music is the soothing salve that makes those wounds heal faster.
Basia Bulat, Good Advice
Secret City Records, February 12, 2016