Album review: These Wilder Things by Ruth Moody

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Ruth Moody’s album These Wilder Things was released in 2013 but online all things are eternal … or, at least, I can allow myself an extended deadline to review the album, given that Moody is Canadian and she’s only just touring the album here now.

As with so many albums I fall in love with, it’s taken a while for this review to form itself. Language – perhaps just the English language – can seem too limited to describe an emotional response to music. Music itself seems to be the only language appropriate enough to express that emotion. But I can’t command music the way Moody can, so I’ll do my best with the written word.

These Wilder Thingsseems composed of elegance and sky, yearning and directness. There is space in these songs – space for the listener to sigh with the beauty of it all. This is especially true of the title track, which seems like it could be played as accompaniment to an epic journey on the prairies as much as a journey to the interior of oneself.

Moody’s voice is strong and sweet, never letting sentiment become twee. The instruments supporting her voice are restrained and, well, perfect. It’s pretty much a perfect album. Even Moody’s choice to cover Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ seems to fit perfectly, providing a jaunty counterpoint to Moody’s own cadence, which is a little slower.

Moody was born in Australia yet we can’t really claim her – not just because she’s lived in Canada most of her life but because this album is redolent of the place where she grew up: the space of those prairies; the respectful, rather than habitual, politeness of Canadians; the independent music scene that stretches from coast to coast across that massive interior, picking up influences with an alert curiosity and half an ear on a rich musical past that has marked Canadian music for decades. That’s a lot for one album to hold; Moody is more than capable of it, of holding the past and future in each hand and standing fully present between them.
These Wilder Things (True North) is available now.  

Ruth Moody is touring Australia. For tour dates and to read a short interview with her, please click here.

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