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Amelia Curran - Watershed

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 8 / 5 / 2017

Amelia Curran - Watershed
Label: Six Shooter Records
Format: CD


Canadian Juno award winner Amelia Curran’s eighth album proves her most diverse yet captivating set of songs to date

Juno award winning Canadian singer-songwriter Amelia Curran has always had something to say across her seven albums but with the release of her eighth, ‘Watershed’, through Six Shooter Records she seems more determined than ever to get her message across. Curran is well known for the work she does raising awareness about the poor support and services available to those suffering from mental illness. Being a co-founder of ‘It’s Mental’ (http://www.itsmental.ca/) and using her own experience of depression is an obvious advantage. We’re more likely to listen to someone who has lived through the distress of the cause that they support than those on the fringes. Among the eleven songs on ‘Watershed’ Curran tackles the subject of depression. That’s not really surprising as she has covered the subject on earlier albums, but on this latest album her more feminist songs get a little more space while others embrace the communities we live in and the people who live close to us. The latter is best represented on ‘Every Woman Every Man’, which is a haunting call for compassion; in a few simple lines Curran makes her point eloquently while one of her prettiest melodies frames her words. That song is the penultimate track on ‘Watershed’. ‘You Have Got Each Other’ closes the album and continues with that haunting quality. This time though it appears that Curran has written a fairly straightforward love song about people finding the right partner, proving that there isn’t always a political angle to her songs. Those two closing songs are at odds with most of ‘Watershed’ musically. Apart from the folky ballad that is ‘Act of Human Kindness’ which appears at the halfway mark and which leaves you wishing that Curran would at some point release an album entirely of these more stripped-back, melodically rich songs, this album rocks. Even on ‘Stranger Things Have Happened’ in which Curran has a dig at the music industry and which features some of the best lines heard on the album (“Have I overstayed my welcome on the FM radio? Did I capture some affection, should I pack it up and go?”), there’s a rockier edge despite the songs mellow opening. ‘Move a Mile’ opens the album and can also be interpreted as an ode to the struggle of making it in the music industry. Maybe it’s detailing Curran’s personal journey. It doesn’t take long, however, before the black dog gets a mention. But as with most of the album the music that Curran accompanies her lyrics to lends a more positive edge than just reading her lyrics would suggest. Curran pens attractive tunes. Of that there’s no doubt and when chiming guitars and her distinctive voice are as clear as they are on this opening cut it’s impossible to ignore her. The title song displays an even rockier edge; while Curran has a strong message to convey in her songs and one gets the feeling that she places the majority of the weight on her lyrics there is much to enjoy here even if you don’t agree with her views or values. Curran wraps each and every song in an irresistible melody, ‘Sunday Bride’ is a perfect example of the intelligent lyrics, catchy melody and searing guitar work which inform many of the songs on ‘Watershed’. It’s what makes Curran stand out from the crowd, the whole package not just her thoughtful lyrics. ‘Gravity’ is another example of this; a contender for the most ‘up’ song on the album. Despite its lyrics of “You and me talking was such a disgrace/A a voice is a terrible thing to waste”, the guitar and brass lift the song which races along; the overall feeling is a positive one. As always, it’s difficult to place Amelia Curran in any one genre; her vocals are instantly likeable but it’s impossible to compare her to any other singer as she straddles a number of genres musically and isn’t afraid to turn to other singers when the song requires it (Shakura S’Aida’s soulful interjections to ‘No More Quiet’ are stunning, another song which is surely close lyrically to Curran’s heart) which makes ‘Watershed’ Curran’s most diverse and fascinating album to date. This world is short on Amelia Currans; that she makes some of the most captivating music around right now to get her message across is surely a bonus for any music lover. ‘Watershed’ is an album to cherish for a number of reasons, Curran’s lyrical skill being just one.

Track Listing:-
1 Move a Mile
2 Watershed
3 Sunday Bride
4 Gravity
5 Come Back for Me
6 Act of Human Kindness
7 Stranger Things Have Happened
8 No More Quiet
9 Try
10 Every Woman Every Man
11 You Have Got Each Other

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