Monday, September 8, 2008

Ron Sexsmith - Exit Strategy Of The Soul (2008)

"a tone that feels less like a curse than a kiss"

Despite the weighty matter Ron Sexsmith deals with on his 11th – and arguably his best – album, no one will walk away from it bereft or downhearted.

No other contemporary songwriter uses such persuasive metaphysical techniques to make the best of bad situations – in this case, the ruin of the planet, death and alienation, big questions about the purpose of creation. At its best, Sexsmith's poetry owes a lot to Donne and Marvell. 

"Impossible World" dares both God and Death to give him reasons to believe, and "This Is How I Know" declares ever so equivocally, "From an ocean to a single wave/ out of nothing came the miracle/ That loved us into being/ This is how I know it will be."

If you add to these deceptively simple songs London-based producer Martin Terefe's bright, uncluttered veneer and a robust Cuban horn section (courtesy of Amaury Perez and Alexander Abreu, who recorded their soulful contributions in Havana), the effect is surprisingly heady and hopeful, not a downer at all.

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