Julie Doiron continued to find her musical voice on Heart and Crime, her simplest and most bare-bones effort to date. The subdued mood and lack of fuzz-pedals finally set Doiron on a path apart from her past work in the band Eric's Trip. While her former band often experimented with simple and quiet harmonies on some tracks, the band was defined by their blistering pop sound. Doiron's soft singer/songwriter approach this time around finds her calling upon musician friends to add a wealth of instruments to the recordings, including cymbals, shaker, harmonica, trumpet, and keyboards. The disc followed her collaboration with Canadian band Wooden Stars. That collaboration obviously led to Doiron experimenting with more sophisticated sounds. On "Shivers + Crickets" and "All Their Broken Hearts," her slightly-above-hushed vocals set an almost frozen-in-time pace to the album. The songs are excessively personal, with Doiron narrating tales of life. Themes include self-doubt, regret, and thoughtful deliberation. The outdoor sounds on "I Broke His Heart" blend with Doiron's voice to create an earthy and startlingly enchanting track. Only four tracks on Heart and Crime are free of guest musicians, and Doiron saves those completely solo songs for the end of the album. The end of the disc serves as a frame of some of the most personal tracks of the disc. The solitary nature of these songs are similar to Cat Power in their emotional impact, if not for their tones. While Chan Marshall's vocals often stretch to add emphasis, Doiron chooses to emphasize the emotional overtones of songs with vocal tenderness. Doiron recorded Heart and Crime with producer Dale Morningstar in Toronto.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer