Maylee Todd :: Choose Your Own Adventure

Maylee Todd :: Choose Your Own Adventure
Perhaps the best introduction to Toronto’s Maylee Todd isn’t to watch the video for ‘Aerobics In Space’ first but to listen to her debut album ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’, on release in the UK from 20 June 2011 on the label Do Right. If you were to watch the video uninitiated you would no doubt come away with the impression that this is an artist with a delectable voice on the one hand and a wish for individuality that manifests itself as totally bonkers on the other. I suppose the title gives it away.

But don’t read into that too much, it belies the artist’s rhythmic sensibilities and that’s why you should give yourself the visual treat after unearthing the subtleties of the acoustics. ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ varies from bluesy upbeat pop vocals through to meandering introspective embodied in ‘Heart Throb’.

With these notable shifts in style the album as a whole still glides along rather nicely. She’s ably backed by a band featuring brass, synth, vibraphone, percussion, bass and accordions. Aside from the intro, it opens proper with ‘Summer Sounds’, a pleasant bossa nova beat which has a similar backdrop to those timelessly crafted by a Joao and Astrud Gilberto track. That’s how it starts in any case. By the end it’s retro and futuristic all at the same time; good enough to consider its dexterity yet poppy enough to switch off to. It harks to the future without forgetting its past. In the same way the loud outfits and cartoon influence on the video embellish certain aspects of the sound she’s creating, the gentle spacey pulses and classical instrumentation massage the track into a different auditory era.

A Lullaby to My Fictitious Children is a slightly melancholy soliloquy and in places the seemingly vulnerable Ms Todd succeeds in raspiness that Billie Holliday could lend to her voice - a rough sounding edge to provide the song with more texture. Pegwee Power – a Pegwee I gather is a product of Todd’s other creative outlets – sees her using her self-taught harpist skills and bringing together an almost springlike playful chorus with multi-layered musical arrangement which demonstrate a further string to the musical bow.

There are essentially three filler tracks on the nine track album. But don’t be put off. There is still bang for your buck as the remaining six are thick with eloquence and proffer something genuinely different, ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ displays a universal appeal; she is clearly an artist with vision.

A stolen diamond in cartoon spacetopia sets the scene for the final track on the album and J Lee Williams’ stunning videopiece. With more costumes than Moulin Rouge, Elvis impersonators with baguettes and riding greyhounds towards the moon, it evokes The Watchmen and Ledger’s Joker. It’s actually rather clever. Like the album and its singer.

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