Canon Blue

Lasso Yo

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AllMusic Review by

Lasso Yo is the third album from songwriter/producer Daniel James under the Canon Blue alias, and follows a gap of six years between albums. James revealed that during that time, he struggled with worsening bouts of anxiety and depression, with the related sense of isolation eventually leading to his most personal record yet. Absent the string quartet from prior album Rumspringa, or any help at all for that matter, save an appearance by drummer Darren King (on "Onyx"), it was performed, recorded, and produced by James alone. (Lasso Yo was then mixed by Tortoise's John McEntire.) It's surprising, then, that the album carries a bright, almost ebullient tone that blurs distinctions between bedroom electronica and amphitheater-friendly indie pop. The lively, skittering drums of his previous releases play a part in that impression, as on "Dedicate," with its syncopated rhythms and sudden, if dampened bursts of attack. In the meantime, James' sleek falsetto delivers a bright melody and lyrics like "Maybe I’m scared to try/Maybe I am waiting on another life/Day in, day out, my mind, my mind." With the exception of a few more wistful songs that are still nearly as animated and the downtempo "Carry My Weight," the vibrancy of the rest of the track list likewise seems to contradict their unwelcome inspiration. Excerpted from lyrics, a message spread across multiple pages of the liner notes offers: "Always living underneath of a shadow/Face to face in the silence/Then it all goes away into the lasso."

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