Listen to this track by Hamilton Ontario-based singer songwriter and nimble-fingered piano-woman Marie Avery. It’s “Stories”, one of five tracks (and my favourite) from her 2013 EP The Fire.
Steeped in lyrical art rock textures, with a few impressionist classical references thrown in, the record was produced by Foreign Films head honcho Bill Majoros, who also plays guitar, percussion, and pedals on the track. So, it seems that Hamiltonian musicians stick together, and to impressive musical effect.
Marie Avery hails from Northern Ontario, having developed her ear for a number of musical influences from Debussy to Radiohead, Beck to the Beatles. Luckily, she found her way to Hamilton, where there is a vital and connected music scene.
One of my favourite elements to pop songwriting is bold changes in direction during the course of a single song, with those directions eventually converging to make the song more than what you thought it was going to be when it began. That’s what this song delivers. This, and Avery’s cascading piano lines, and a with voice that evokes wintry, and desolately beautiful landscapes.
The song itself is rife with rich sonic side passages, helped along by a sumptuous arrangement that takes its time, building to an epic climax without being over-egged and losing its pop appeal. This is helped along by additions of cello, and muted trumpet (two of my favourite ingredients), that make me think of Spirit of Eden-era Talk Talk in it’s quieter instrumental passages.
Overall, this song represents musical ambition without the ego; that’s not an easy balance to strike. And it takes listeners from one place, and transports them to another, without taking the usual route.
To hear the rest of The Fire, run don’t walk to Marie Avery’s Bandcamp page to hear it, including the lead single “If You’ve Got The Time”.
And also, don’t forget to join a near-legion (to date!) of likers on the Marie Avery Facebook page.