Best Vancouver albums of 2015

mourningcoupMourning Coup – Baby Blue
No Sun Recordings
Listen: “Master”

Chandra Melting Tallow crafted her debut the album, Baby Blue, over a five-year period. Mental and physical health issues during that time (the title refers to the colour of scrubs) stood as roadblocks, but they served as inspirations, too.

Baby Blue is complex and multi-faceted. The album’s long gestation may have been rife with disruptions, but Tallow maximized her time to meticulously sculpt and ruminate in her own world. That world, which she has brought to life as Mourning Coup using a handful of drum machines and synthesizers, is arboreal and surreal.

Baby Blue flourishes with colour on the surface, but danger almost always feels imminent, like a threat’s lurking around every corner, under every leaf. Sometimes, the danger leaps right out. On “Master”, Tallow’s voice rings from all directions; the multiple vocal tracks clash with each other as she sings from both high and low ends and everywhere in between. The song’s spiraling, snakebite dementia suggests that her lush world is not so benign after all.

Tracks like “Two Black Eyes” are serene, but with all the harrowing moments surrounding the song, there’s no reason to believe that peace, or safety, will persist. Remarkably, though, through all the drama and despair, Tallow maintains a great deal of poise. She stands at the end of the album, as she does at the end of her five-year ordeal, a more resilient person. Through perseverance, she seems to have seized control of her afflictions and is writing her own history from this point on.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu