At first glance, Canadian crooner Jenn Grant appears as an ever-subtle songstress, her silky vocals sliding within the ever-present sea of coffeehouse-bred, guitar-strumming queens. But with Echoes, the Halifax resident’s third effort, we’re witnessing an audition for a bigger stage.
"Heartbreaker" plays up first impressions, introducing Grant on an unsurprisingly quiet note. Her haunting vocals on the all-knowing "You’ll Go Far" and the yearning "Where Are You Now?" could easily accompany the soft lights and steaming cups of your local shop. It’s a clever attempt, but Grant, like the dreamer she sings of on 2006’s Orchestra for the Moon, craves much more.
"Parachutes," the album’s fifth track, personifies this desire, beginning in Grant’s typically timid, understated way and expanding into a mix of Motown-esque claps and bop bop bops. The accusatory "I Was Your Woman," playful "(I’ve Got) the Two of You," and alliterative "Sailing by Silverships" continue Grant’s quest for confidence. She even confronts the Neil Young classic, "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," but reprises Echoes‘ opener at best.
A short nod to Noël Coward’s "I’ll See You Again" brings an imperfect album to a vintage end. Grant is still growing, still on a journey, but we’re sure to see her again.
Echoes is out now on Six Shooter Records.