Cam Boucher has experienced some tough times over the last few years, and the smothering, grief-inspired intensity of last year’s ‘It Kindly Stopped For Me’ EP saw him attempting to find a way out of that darkness.
Sadly, its musical left turn into quieter, more gothic folk territory made it pale in comparison to the boisterous promise and punch of full-length predecessor ‘Joy, Departed’.
Third album ‘You’re Not As ____ As You Think’ tends to hop, skip and jump between both styles, with Cam again bleeding issues and insecurities onto every track.
It’s hard, raw, unflinching and heavy stuff, and a sometimes uncomfortable listen, yet starts off on sonically feisty ground with the twin delights of ‘No Halo’ and ‘A Portrait Of’. But the black dog is never far away; “I’ve been feeling suicidal” begins the latter, and the creativity-as-catharsis mood is set.
Problems arise though when things get overly slow and sad, falling into the trap of alienating coldness. Boucher’s pain is evident for all to hear, but it’s rarely inviting.
There’s lyrical lip service paid to hope and optimism across these songs, but the clouds are so prevalent, it can sometimes make for a stifling experience.