Orillia Opry, Lighthouse for Straggler’s Eyes

Holy shit, this is awesome. Not like going-outwith-all-your-friends-for-a-ripping-Fridaynight-followed-by-a-delicious-early-afternoon-breakfast-on-Saturday-then-recordshopping-type-awesome, but more like drivingout-to-your-friends’-winterized-cottage-aftermidnight-in-a-car-with-only-a-tape-deckand-his-uncle’s-old-copy-of-On-The-Beachtype-awesome, which is a very particular and hard-to-nail-down kind of awesome. But Lighthouse for Straggler’s Eyes has it in spades, all focused on the astounding songwriting chemistry of Daniel Noble and Emma Baxter. While these Montreal natives probably haven’t spent much time in Orillia, Ontario, their moodily aggressive folk seems to possess all the characteristics of that depressing cottage town, with a clean surface of beauty and a harsh core of melancholy (sorry, Orillians). With full-band arrangements fleshing out their songs with all the fresh-sounding verve of Crazy Horse or a sloppy version of The Band, Orillia Opry have crafted an insanely wonderful record that any fans of textured folk and gritty rock ‘n’ roll would do well to pick up. (Sam Sutherland)

CD, Ships at Night, www.shipsatnight.com

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