This Canadian singer and writer’s second album features an acoustic band that has drums and percussion which add a sense of rhythm to a wide range of instruments, including those of producer Jordy Walker who is credit with ten different instruments, alongside the strings, lap steel and French horn also credited. Sipos herself plays guitar, mandolin and bouzouki and delivers her thoughtful songs with a distinctive vocal sensibility that feels both old and new, drawing from many inspirations, not least a sense of Appalachian mist and mountains. She has a style and searching approach that reminds, at times of Natalie Merchant.
Sipos’ songs are at times tinged with surrealism that allows for individual interpretation to misinterpretation. A Line from Old Sins “Holes in the ice, filled with longing and doubt” illustrates that there is a poetic element involved that goes beyond a simple structure. Shadows has a beguiling sound that matches the lyric portent of “shadows for eyelids, broken down shutters for lips, spine aligns to allow time to travel through”; words that create a strange landscape to explore. Many of these songs pass the four and five minute mark and could not be considered as easy listening folk. Rather, they are at the forefront of a musical exploration of the possibilities of acoustic instruments to consider the amalgamation of trip-hop in a new setting.
Dana Sipos is not laying out these songs on a clear linear path that offers an easy interpretation, rather she asks the listener to follow the signs to where these words and music point and to find your own place in the scenery. There are highpoint such as Holy People that has a memorable vocal and musical balance that works on a more immediate level that some of the other songs. This is an album that shows its true nature with repeated listening as the subtleties of the arrangements and vocal give depth to the lyrical qualities of the songs. While not everyone’s obvious choice for consideration, Dana Sipos will doubtless find her own place and audience with her original music and creative collaboration. Here Sipos and Walker seem like a perfectly matched set of visionaries. All you need to do is see things as they do.