No Fool For Trying
[Rating: 3.5 stars]
The good news about Madison Violet’s third album is that Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac have discovered how well it works when they sing close harmony on spare, melancholic material. That’s also the bad news; they want to go there on every track.
And who can blame them, really? On that soft, sad stuff—the lilting, steel-sweetened opener “The Ransom,” for instance, or “Hallways of the Sage,” with its rich melodic hues—their breathy delivery is a pleasing, perfect match. Throughout “Small of My Heart”—the simplest song on the album, since it keeps cycling through the same three chords, but also one of the most immediately appealing—subdued doo-wop-style backing provides a cozy bed for their blend, fitting for a song about nurturing a feeling of connection to familiar people and places. Fetching as it is, though, the yearning and sighing overstays its welcome just a bit.
The surprising thing about No Fool For Trying—MacEachern and MacIsaac’s first on True North—as opposed to the two more effervescent and produced folk-pop albums the Canadian duo independently released as Madviolet is that it’s as pared down, acoustic and focused on their voices as it is. Studio sheen usually increases in proportion to label size. And they were right to head the other way.