Artist: Louise Burns Video: 'Drop Names Not Bombs' Highlight: "We liked the idea…
- Posted on Jun 17th 2011 4:30PM by Tabassum Siddiqui
After you've signed to Madonna's record label at age 15, where on earth do you go from there? For Vancouver singer-songwriter Louise Burns, it's been quite the journey from co-founding bratty pop-punk band Lillix as a pre-teen to recasting herself as a purveyor of charmingly retro-flavoured pop tunes with her delightful new album, 'Mellow Drama.'
It's hard not to think of Burns as Canada's answer to Zooey Deschanel, given her penchant for '50s and '60s girl-group-era harmonies and impeccable Brill Building-style production -- any fan of Deschanel's She & Him duo would be hard-pressed not to fall for Burns' similarly classic approach to songwriting that's at once beautifully simple yet also rich in musical and lyrical detail.
You'd barely guess that Burns spent the past several years trying to find her own unique musical voice, given the remarkable poise and polish of the dozen songs on 'Mellow Drama,' which boasts a cohesive sound throughout but also manages to work in all manner of stylistic touchstones as Burns channels her appealingly twangy vocals through smoky country ballads, pensive jazz-inflected numbers, and upbeat, classic-pop tunes.
'What Do You Wanna Do' sounds like it could have been written in the very era it's influenced by, all sunny girl-group harmonies, spritely tambourine percussion and jangly acoustic guitar. And just try resisting the instantly memorable chorus -- there's a reason the song centers around the catchy refrain as a lyrical motif.
The straightforward lyrics at first seem to pale in comparison to the song's crisp production and focus on an engaging melody, but listen a little closer, and it's clear Burns' plaintive narrator has an intriguingly personal story to tell: "And as you undo those buttons tonight/You undo the mystery that made you mine."
In finding her musical feet again, Burns (an accomplished multi-instrumentalist who also plays in B.C. trio the Blue Violets) has managed to do what few young songwriters are able to do: reinvent themselves as an artist while making the old sound utterly brand-new.
Download: Louise Burns, 'What Do You Wanna Do?' (MP3)
Louise Burns plays the Light Organ Records showcase at Supermarket on Saturday, June 18 @ 9PM