Julie Doiron

So Many Days

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Canadian songwriter Julie Doiron has had a long road since she got her start in '90s fuzz-pop legends Eric's Trip. From those urgent young days, Doiron graduated to breathy solo work under the name Broken Girl, which she eventually dropped in favor of her given name, developing as the years went by to turn in masterpieces of understated sadness like 2002's Heart and Crime as well as collaborate with fans of hers from the next generation, such as Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum. The title of her ninth solo album, So Many Days, may reflect her veteran status in a life devoted to music. While it stays out of the dreaded "looking back over my life" clich├ęs completely, there is a sense of abandon to the tunes that's surprisingly optimistic given Doiron's somewhat dour past, and one that seems to come with artists relaxing as they shed their tumultuous or heartbroken younger days. Themes of long-term love and commitment are abundant, with a focus on what the songs' narrator can give, how they can foster growth, and how the emotional journey feels as it goes. The album is Doiron's third to be produced by former Eric's Trip bandmate Rick White, and the songs glow with a rich warmth, especially on the woozy guitar tones of tracks like "Our Love" and "The Gambler." Traditional country tinges come through in many of the songs, from the waltz-timed acoustic lament of "Another Second Chance" to the Neil Young-ish roots rock undertones of "Can't Make It No More" and "Where Are You?" In the more spare moments, Doiron taps into some of the elements she explored on collaborations with Mount Eerie, such as the wall of haunted vocal harmonies on "The Only" and the abrupt, straightforward brevity of "I Thought I Could Do It." The sense of carefree joy that So Many Days coasts on is peculiar. Lyrically, Doiron is getting into some dark stuff, but the album feels mostly jubilant and hopeful. Even the mostly a cappella tale of a life falling to shambles in "Homeless" doesn't feel like the downer it should. It's a refreshing dichotomy, and one that makes for brilliant, if sometimes puzzling, listening in another chapter of Doiron's always strong body of work.

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