Album Review: Kira Sheppard’s The Hollow Earth

There’s something otherworldly about a slightly psyched out folk album centered around a harp.

There’s something otherworldly about a slightly psyched out folk album centered around a harp. It’s a quaint, subdued journey with plenty of hidden power beneath its surface.

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It’s romantic, artsy, eccentric, but diverse enough to swing into the playlist of just about anybody. There’s a broad appeal that underlies the stern but whimsical nature of the record, which is a testament to the talent that has constructed it.

It’s hard to pinpoint what era this album would best live in. It has strands of the British Folk Revival, the female pop folk reckoning of the mid-90s, and is certainly not out of place in the days of anthemic pop-rock that we may well still live in.

It’s a golden-tinged chameleon that scurries along complex musical branches. But it doesn’t need a home; by its nature it’s a transient piece of art. A beautiful traveller. An ode to adventure and experience, lifting poetry out of the mundanity of everyday life with a delicate veneer.

Kira’s songwriting shines throughout. She has a real sense of dynamic and melody, and her voice has just enough rasp, behind a clear and honest delivery to make it really stand alone. Standout tracks like “Montreal Loves Me” and “That Time” showcase the previously mentioned adventurous narrative.It’s the little things that matter, but singing about them with the backing of a carefully plucked harp or masterful piano runs, adds a little extra dimension that helps take the songs beyond mere poems.

And so does Jake Nicoll’s production. Jake is ubiquitous in the local scene as a producer, let alone an award-winning artist, and it’s nigh impossible to get away from his work if you want to cover those creating fresh sounds and breaking new ground. This is another instance of natural instincts taking over. Jake’s work never sounds too polished – he adds enough flourish and character to every piece to make sure it has personality. This album has a ton of it.

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