The Sweet Sound of 1000 Lives

I’ve listened to many a sexy voice in my time, but, with 1000 Lives, Winnipeg’s Ingrid Gatin elevates sultriness to a veritable art form – accordion, twangy piano and all.

Opening with the haunting chorus in a round of “My Ship, My Crown”, Gatin’s second album (following 2009’s Broken Tambourine) unleashes a captivating dreamscape, offering a resounding yet relatable narrative of search, experience, and loss of love.

Admittedly, Gatin’s voice is confident in its notable range and believable in its narrative quality, rendering the album solidly play-worthy, even before factoring in her proven songwriting skills, engineered with the talents of Grammy-nominated producer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, among others). Throughout the album, Gatin showcases impressive musicality; notable control, woven flawlessly into a series of passionate crescendos and more than a few surprising tempo shifts.

Most impressively, 1000 Lives achieves all this without a trace of self-congratulatory clutter. In the mixing, Bilerman shows perfect restraint:  the solo voice is gorgeous when it is showcased, the harmonies – though sometimes unexpected – don’t feel forced. Likewise, some unanticipated instrumentation and rhythm change (notably in “I Built This Song”) are extraordinary without feeling like they have something to prove.

Consequently, the album is smooth listening and easy to appreciate: 48-minute running time, divided into 11 deliciously palatable morsels providing a lingering aura of enticing charm, with no shortage of stirring melodies.

“Slow Dancing”, the second track, will inevitably be the radio darling of the collection; it’s cheeky and flirtatious, with a sultry beat, and lyrics that feel great to sing to yourself in the mirror (I will try to be something that I’ve always wanted to be / Take it slow on the dance floor / And don’t take your eyes off of me).

The accordion is integrated throughout the album, as is some waltz and significant use of snare drum, none of which are commonly found in contemporary popular music, yet all of which manage to sound modern, fresh and vibrant. Trust me – this is not a Walter Ostanek record.

With an Artist-in-Residency (Struts Gallery, Sackville 2012), Top 20 listing on Earshot Charts for Broken Tambourine, and tour dates across Canada and throughout Europe to her credit, Ingrid Gatin retains a Canadian home base, currently balancing her time between Winnipeg and Montreal.

“I would love to live in a tiny place on the side of the sea, with not a lot of other people around, but in the music industry, you’re always drawn back to the city…” – Ingrid Gatin, in a 2013 interview

Soon, she’ll have an opportunity to combine her love of the sea, city and music. Ingrid Gatin will be performing here in Vancouver at the Railway Club (along with Twin Voices and Zaac Pick) on March 6.