“Face the world, it’s waiting for you,” sings Beatrice Deer on the only English language track on Shifting. It’s a sentiment that sums up the theme of self-development on the half-Inuk and half-Mohawk’s sixth album.
Raised in Quebec and now resident in Montreal, the eleven tracks are underpinned by her belief that, “Life is an ongoing growing experience.” The individual words can’t be understood by non-native speakers of Inuktitut or French but the mood of personal growth is convincingly conveyed through the music.
Frequently warm and uplifting in tone, the release is strongly rooted in the indie rock of her hometown. Helped out by collaborators from her local music community, including members of The Besnard Lakes and The Barr Brothers, their influence can be heard on ‘Uqautinnga’ and ‘Cannibal’. The chiming guitars on the anthemic ‘Free’ and bass heavy ‘Christmas’ are meanwhile reminiscent of James circa Seven.
This sense of positivity is advanced by the rich layers of dream-pop, which is where she’s at her most interesting. ‘Ilinnut (A Prayer)’ has the down-tempo loveliness of Sigur Rós swimming underwater with a harpist. ‘Sunauvva’ rattles along like Lush at their spikiest with additional whistle and throat-singing, and traditional song ‘Aanngiq’ is experimentally built around a vocal loop and submerged, minimal instrumentation.
The prettiness of these tracks makes the addition of the Madchester shuffle ‘The Storm’ and self-descriptive instrumental ‘Accordion Song’ even more baffling. Little more than fillers, they get in the way of Shifting growing to its full potential.
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