As already mentioned, the last weeks were a little rough, album-wise. I am not saying that there weren’t great albums, I am sure there were but the ones I listened to might have been good but none stood out in a way that I really wanted to listen to them again. And then Christina Courtin happened with her new album “Varsity” that apparently isn’t even available yet in Germany.
Courtin is from New York and plays the violin. However, we won’t hear it as much on this album which seems to be her second after her debut in 2009. Her new album is very colourful and likes to try a little bit of everything. You have folk and country and pop and some very perky numbers like “Varsity” that would do wonders on the dancefloor. There is even a Surf Pop number (“All you had to do”) that reeks of the 60s. The miracle: It all works in the context of the album. There is a heavyness (stylistically, not in feels, bro) to her sound that makes songs like “I Am and you are” or “Varsity“ sound like rock numbers, even if they aren’t (well, at least compared to what I usually listen to when I listen to Rock). It’s the intense energy, I bet, because Courtin has a lot of it and all feels as if she had a lot of fun recording the album. It’s great because even if it is an easy listen, it’s not simple or vapid. It’s quite clever that the first song is “Radio” which sounds like a dusty hymn that women sing while they work on the fields, the baby on the back. There are a few songs that would have started “Varsity” with giddy fun but would have created false expectations (just as “Djungle Drum” did for Emiliana Torrini). “Radio”, though, makes you wonder what else she has in store and the fact that the next song is a completely different style, opens up the mind to really enjoy whatever she has cooked up on these 11 tracks.
It’s smart, it’s perky and reminds me a little of Joanna Newsom or Regina Spektor, both ladies that love to screw with the listener’s expectations.
This is an old one, she really changed her style but that voice works well with a slight Reggae-tone as well.
*It’s really not easy to always come up with something fitting and/or witty, so these things happen.