Whenever I listen to a new album, I try and envisage what type of movie the album would be the perfect soundtrack to. Tall Tall Shadow by Torontonian Basia Bulat would accompany an idiosyncratic rom-com—like (500) Days of Summer—or a quirky romantic dramedy—like last year’s Take This Waltz.
Why a romance? The combination of Bulat’s silky vocals, heartbroken lyrics, and folksy instrumentation all scream “bittersweet romance gone wrong,” but with a hopeful, Hollywood resolution. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because Tall Tall Shadow is an engaging, fresh album—it just also happens to be rather cinematic.
Bulat injects “Shadow” with a feisty, acoustic spirit that propels the album from start to finish, particularly on “It Can’t Be You” and titular track “Tall Tall Shadow.” Here, defiant lyrics and melodies reach out and grasp the listener, instead of slapping them in the face.
That’s exactly what makes this album great: it has a subtle boldness instead of an obnoxious one. It creeps up on you, and it’s not until the last song that you realize you totally understand what Bulat is getting at with her album. Fortunately, the slower paced songs (“From Now On,” “The City With No Rivers,” “Never Let Me Go”) also hold their own, adding a dynamic aspect to the album instead of dragging it down. As Bulat’s fifth LP, Tall Tall Shadow is yet another quality release.