When Keep The Fire was released several months ago, I listened to it several times—enjoyed it completely—and then set it aside as it didn’t fit my definition of ‘roots’ as featured here at Fervor Coulee. However, I came back to it over the Christmas break, and was again taken under its spell. Little about this album whispers ‘this is roots music,’ but that’s okay. I still feel I should take a few minutes and share my thoughts: maybe someone will read and be inspired to explore.
Kate Bush is too easy, but that is who Papillon brings to mind with her swooping, orchestral pop music, especially on tracks like “Hold On, I Will.” Tamara Lindeman’s (The Weather Station) latest would similarly serve as a starting point, but it is likely best to just listen to the darned album. The closest Papillon comes to folk music would be on songs like “The Damage” (on which she reveals a bit of Joni Mitchell in her voice) and “No Paradise.” “Keep The Fire” is a standout song, memorable and well-produced: the song just leaps out of the speakers. Several other tracks have more than a bit of an EDM vibe (a little like the Dan Tyminski album mentioned here) that is vaguely appealing, but doesn’t do a lot for this codger.
Follow the links if you haven’t previously heard Keep The Fire. There is a good chance that if you are looking for the ‘rootsiest of the roots’, it won’t appeal to you. But, there is just a good a chance that you may surprise yourself and find yourself purchasing the album. It is very impressive—raucous in places, meditative elsewhere, superbly assembled. And “Heart Beat” features a bit of that classic “Walk on the Wild Side” bass groove, something that will attract me every time.