Best Vancouver albums of 2015

sashaSacha McKenna – Poor Boy
Listen: “Did You Forget About Caroline?”

The opening track of Sacha McKenna’s Poor Boy suggests that his debut LP is a frosty instrumental album. But even the title of that song alone, “They Meet in a Ballroom”, suggests a narrative.

McKenna describes the story on Bandcamp: “Caroline is Poor Boy’s Muse. Caroline ends her life and Poor Boy is left without the will to create. He finds himself further disconnected from the world around him and at every turn is haunted by the facts of Caroline’s life. He has built himself a psychological prison and Caroline Is both the lock and the key.”

Unsurprisingly, Poor Boy is full of lyrically rich balladry. The album’s pulse reveals itself on the second song, “Did You Forget About Caroline?”, when McKenna’s distant vocals fade in amidst loosely strummed guitar. Even without knowing about the death in the story, the shallow reverb on his voice and guitar creates a spectral weightlessness; the album’s near-lack of percussion allows the music to float in the air like a ghost. Sometimes, it’s haunting. Always, it’s beautiful.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu