Julie Doiron Sounds Revitalized on Brash, Energetic 'I Thought of You'
Published Nov 23, 2021Anyone familiar with Julie Doiron's work ethic knows that, just because she hasn't put out a proper album in a moon's age, doesn't mean she hasn't been busy. Since her last full-length, 2012's So Many Days, the Moncton singer/songwriter founded a couple of supergroups, recorded another album with Mount Eerie, and re-recorded some of her material in Spanish.
Maybe this is why her ninth solo LP, I Thought of You, finds the three-decade vet sounding wonderfully revitalized and well-worn. Compiled from songs Doiron wrote across the last decade (including several previously released numbers), these 13 songs meld several eras throughout her career, both musically and emotionally. Tracks like "Thought of You" (from her Greville Tapes EP in 2016 with Nancy Pants) and "How Can We Keep Laughing" stand out due to Doiron's ability to deliver heart-wrenching lyrics overtop crashing instrumentation — courtesy of her starkly plucked playing and a rough-edged backing band that includes Dany Placard on bass alongside brothers Ian and Daniel Romano on drums and guitar, respectively. Opening number "You Gave Me the Key" conjures up Neil Young & Crazy Horse's dusty vulnerability, while the sweet, angular re-recording of 2019's "Run" is floated by Doiron's stop-start melodies and echoed guitars.
Once you begin to compare her re-recorded tracks with the originals, it become clear just how stimulating and energetic Julie and her band sound on her latest LP. This is best demonstrated by how the docile and sparse acoustic number "Cancel the Party" (originally from a 2003 split single with Okkervil River) is transformed into a thumping, brash rocker, while "Good Reason" (also from Greville Tapes) gets a paisley underground redux, complete with aching slide guitars.
Doiron's newly written tracks included here are just as sonically absorbing, as the vibrating, jammy "Just When I Thought" allows listeners to virtually feel the atmosphere of the room it was recorded in. But when Doiron wants to convey a certain emotional and lyrical gravity that defined albums like 2001's Désormais and 2002's Heart and Crime, she's able to push her vulnerable and tender voice to the front, as demonstrated by the melodic "How Can We" and the prairie-ready on "Darkness to Light."
On I Thought of You, Julie Doiron defends her crown as indie rock royalty, giving listeners yet another full-band classic that equals her material with the Wooden Stars and even Eric's Trip. (You've Changed)