Thursday, March 19, 2009

The world is twice as round, the sky is twice as blue.

Malcolm Fraser, better known as the one man band The World Provider, has been making music between Toronto and Montreal for a decade, with roots in the same collective that spawned superstars Feist and Peaches. I'll admit, before picking up the record, I had never heard of him, but I'm curious now to hear more. He's been steadily releasing records over the last decade years, and this latest endeavour caught my eye from the CHMA shelf, advertising itself as a "Super-fun activity book". The album itself is titled Hard Feelings and is an altogether enjoyable listen.

It does, however, shoot itself in the foot. The music is solid synth-rock and genuinely appealing, but he's made the mistake of opening with the single greatest duet track I've heard since Shotgun Jimmie's Bedhead: a little ditty titled Valentine, featuring old pal Leslie Feist. The song is beautiful, and really makes a good example of Fraser's idiosyncratic approach to vocals. I really can't explain the effect it has on me.

The rest of the album is definitely solid, with a few stand-out tracks, namely Happy Endings and the title track, Hard Feelings, but it takes me the better part of the album just to get over the wonder and joy that is that first track. He's put together a quirky and idiosyncratic record here, and I'll call myself a fan. I'm not sure if I'm a fan of his overuse of falsetto, or quasi-falsetto, or whatever it is he's doing with his voice throughout so much of it, but one way or another he puts the sound forward that he is a wacky guy who has held the tradition of that collective (which, as I mentioned, produced Peaches). The off-kilter quality of the album is what makes it notable, and I think you ought to take a look more in-depth into this fellow's music. I know I will.

The World Provider & Feist - Valentine
The World Provider - Entertainment Law

Rating: 6.5/10
Released: 25 November 2008
his myspace is here

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