Album review: The Queen of Vancouver Island

Jess Oja Andrews, Contributor Ω

Carolyn Mark’s newest album, The Queen of Vancouver Island, is an adventure in genres, with 12 tracks ranging from country/folk to jazzy/burlesque. There is also a healthy dose of humour and some songs sound as if they came straight from a Quentin Tarantino film.

I started out pretty skeptical, considering I’m not a big fan of the country twang but the more I listened, the more it grew on me.

I really liked the first track, “Poor Farmers,” with the distant echoing vocals and the acoustic guitar.

The title track, “The Queen of Vancouver Island,” wasn’t my favourite, but it had joyful charm to it and had a plethora of talented musicians and support vocals. In fact, I counted 30 different people that contributed to the album.

“Flaming Star,” an Elvis cover, is a lot of fun and well done. It reminded me of Johnny Cash, but be warned, it will definitely get stuck in your head.

“Nobody(‘s Perfect)” is probably my favorite track, an incredibly cleverly written, darkly humorous and easy track to listen to.

“Old Whores” is emotional and poignant and has a lovely piano solo. Bet you weren’t expecting that.

“You’re not a Whore (If No One’s Paying)” has a burlesque feel; you could picture Mark singing in a smoky club with a chorus line kicking high behind her. I could have lived without the gurgling though (insert joke here).

Carolyn Mark is clearly an intelligent and thoughtful writer unafraid of sarcastic wit and self-deprecating humour.

If you’re looking for tunes that are formulaic and predictable don’t buy this album, but if you’re adventurous, quirky and appreciate unbridled creative expression then take a chance.