Mae Moore


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Moore finds herself with a fine supporting crew on Bohemia, first and foremost thanks to the production and co-writing help of Steve Kilbey from the Church. Bandmate Peter Koppes adds guitar to one song, while Kilbey's Jack Frost partner, Grant McLennan, contributes throughout; meanwhile, Moore's fellow Canadian, Gordon Downie, shares vocals with her on the excellent "The Wish." All the appearances wouldn't mean much if Moore's own abilities weren't up to snuff, but Bohemia is an enjoyable, coolly fascinating album worthy of its own reputation rather than any Church or Go-Betweens family-tree ties or the like. Whether it's the low-key rap on the verses of the title track or on the break of "Because of Love" or her wonderful backing vocal overdubs on the brilliant "Shape of Love," Moore readily stands on her own two feet. The blend of Moore and Kilbey's guitar work throughout is particularly lovely; the two have a definite rapport, and the sound is lush without ever being overwhelming, supporting Moore's wistfully cool-but-not-cold singing to a tee. Certainly compared to the almost willfully straightforward (and blasé) rash of female folk-influenced performers in the '90s, Moore shines and sparkles with life, the songs providing gentle rock and funk energy without obviously reaching for it. Lynn Canfield in the Moon Seven Times might be the best comparison -- there's the same vocal richness and passion, with more of an acoustic rather than electric bent. Kilbey's ear for production suits all the performances beautifully well; he's not trying for a Church redux sound, instead finding a new synthesis. Considering the focused chime of the guitars buried in the mix on "Fall With You" -- both the lead melody and the darker electric shades -- or the drowned, watery melancholy of "Ophelia," Moore's singing is the evocative center of a haunting wonder.

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