Best of Vancouver Music 2013

White Poppy

White Poppy

From 2009 to last year, Crystal Dorval had created music under the name My Friend Wallis. But as she developed more particular ideas about the therapeutic purpose of her music, so too did she develop a more representative, permanent moniker, White Poppy.

Written and recorded during much alone time, the dualistic effects of isolation rise to the fore on White Poppy’s self-titled debut album, released September 3, 2013 on Not Not Fun Records). The psychedelic jungle rhythm of “Darkness Turns To Light” conveys exploration, of which there is plenty on White Poppy (review), at least introspectively. Looking inwards can be invigorating and mentally replenishing – hear the fresh water splendour “Dead Night”. Perhaps Dorval has tapped into a greater sense of oneness with the universe as a result (“Emotional Intelligence”).

More obviously, isolation can lead to darker places too. Dorval never shies away from any aspect of human thought or feeling and follows those darker paths, pursuing answers to life’s big questions, such as “Who are we?” and Why are we here?” on “Existential Angst”.

While confronting this tide of polar emotions, Dorval never forgets her tastes or interests. She refurbishes motifs such as her beloved vocal reverb and continues pondering the very questions that had preoccupied some of the most important philosophers. But she has developed new approaches toward achieving the same moods she by now seems naturally inclined to set. Even with clearer intent and greater tenacity, Dorval in 2013 still hasn’t discovered all there is to know, but she seems to get closer by the day.