"Life with More Cowbell" CD Release Party live review @ The Drake Hotel
April 5, 2012
“Probably going to be stuck in my head for the rest of the day”
(TV and radio personality, veteran music historian and commentator)
Response to "Dear Diary"
Oct. 15, 2011 at INDIE WEEK Listening Panel
Helium Album Reviews -May 22, 2012
Jason Daniel Baker
Tall, dark and supermodel pretty Angela Saini is a Canadian recording artist and singer-songwriter with a rare star quality. Born and raised in Calgary she was able to re-connect with past contacts resulting in a very successful spring 2012 tour in support of the release of her debut solo recording - a six-track EP entitled 'Cake and Callouses' produced by Tony Gare, lead guitarist in 'Drive Faster' a band in which she remains lead singer and keyboardist.
Ms.Saini was only too happy to relate some of her experiences in the production of the recording which included the participation of notable musician friends and colleagues.
"I had these songs kicking around and I kept writing more and more and really wanted to do my own thing and was playing a lot of solo shows. Once I started recording demos of my songs with Johnny Fay (Tragically Hip) I really started seeing the record taking shape... it was great that Tony was willing and capable of producing it. He had produced Frame of Mind (Drive Faster) as well and has an amazing ear and a lot of patience and skill. After we had recorded the bed tracks at Turtleshell Studio we could really take some time with it and explore the musical landscape. My live band played their parts but Tony and I (and some other special guests including Moe Berg) were able to bring new ideas to the songs. That is the beauty of working in a home studio. You have the time to try things and bring the music to new heights. The record took about 8 months from demos to the final master and I am really happy to share it... you cannot have the cake without the callouses." Says Saini.
She performed solo with just her guitar on her train ride back to Toronto as part of the highly acclaimed VIA Rail On Board performance series. She remains a bigger name out west but after re-locating to Toronto a few years back her following is now growing across the central part of the country. Shows she has done in the Toronto area feature a backing band called 'The Residence'.
'Cake and Callouses' is Saini's musical statement offering gentle, wistful and ethereal introspection on girlish adolescence with mostly upbeat chords and vocal cadences. It is seemingly a very personal document at times detailing a sense of arrival at a new stage in life expressed most explicitly in the track 'New Canvas' - the second track of the EP.
The opening track 'Dear Diary' was nominated for a 2010 International Acoustic Music Award. This title and its order of placement on the EP will seem apropos to some of us as it signals the beginning of when people take time to look back and evaluate both actions and inactions - selves past, selves present and signs of future selves, evaluations and affirmations.
'Keeping Score' relates the experience of confronting a high school rival and is of the most serious statements on the album. It suggests that the only way to resolve some conflicts is to leave them behind.
Some criticisms have suggested that the lyrics are overly simplistic and even perhaps facile, an assertion only valid if one happens to overlook an artists' continual efforts to find a common language with an audience. The vocabulary of lyrics is different from the vocabulary used in print journalism for the obvious reason that lyrics go with music requiring a certain rhythm. The rhythm of the words and that of the music are thus an aural melange.
'Cake and Callouses' and its six tracks are now available for purchase on iTunes.