If you met the sweet Alexandra Stewart in person, you would be hard pressed to uncover any of the darkness coming through so much of her debut LP, Waba. We’ve got the first shared single, the skronky, hard-hitting cut “Soul Like A Ghost.” While this kind of singer/songwriter music is often too straightforward for us, her breathy naturalism and subtle Van Dyke Parks orchestration plays into the hands of that intersection of folkie/indie so many teeter on.
It's a very clean recording; but hey, someone's gotta stand up for production values these days. The entire record is a tribute to her tiny village hometown in Ontario, Canada; saying this album is a reflection on her youth there is an understatement. Themes here are culled from very personal topics I'm almost amiss writing about, so I won’t – just take a listen to the conflict in these lyrics. Stewart's motivational directive seems almost a coping mechanism on a hard fought past.
Beyond her obvious influences, which include the album’s opening portmanteau on Bon Iver's opening For Emma… and having Mark Lawson mix the whole thing (who did Timber Timbre and Arcade Fire among so many others), Stewart has something of her own going on. It’ll be interesting to see her next steps, especially considering she’s yet to play a show – her live debut comes tomorrow, May 22 at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.