Best Vancouver Albums of 2014


Skye Wallace – LIVING || PARTS
Listen: “Carry Our Son”

Orchestral, cinematic, sweeping, and grim, Skye Wallace hits a wide range of emotions on her third LP, LIVING || PARTS. She draws upon history to weave lyrically rich narratives about loss and absconding – stark themes she accentuates by combining weighty strings, plodding drums, and her powerful, arresting voice. Instrumental details rise like steam and linger during placid moments: a song as sparse and open as “General Taylor” allows Wallace’s voice to shine like a beacon against the most distant tom drum as she leads a charge over foggy moors.

LIVING || PARTS is dramatic, but it’s also subtly optimistic. The whimsically strummed “Ain’t It Hell” is a triumphant folk-rock song; one can easily imagine Wallace’s protagonist fleeing her loveless marriage on horseback, galloping across windblown prairie flats with her head held high. “Carry Our Son”, about the loss of a child, conceivably teaches that life goes on after tragedy – that what matters is how one deals with and moves on from adversity. And “Dead Things Part II”, despite the deceased narrator’s vow to haunt her husband and his new wife, stirs interest with a modestly fuzzy guitar line not usually heard in folk music.

A diffuse album that probes the past in an attempt to relate the downtrodden’s spirits, hopes, and yearnings to modern lives, Skye Wallace’s LIVING || PARTS is a cohesive whole that gives new voice to the dead.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu