Julie Arsenault “Nothing Sweeter”

Mabel Son Canciones 2023

A collection of intense and inspired songs of the heart.

The accompanying PR with this album says, “Please refrain from listening if you are in a hurry”. That is definitely good advice. This is an intense and sometimes challenging album that goes from the super confident. “ You call me an idiot but I don’t give a shit. I’m brilliant” on ‘Light one up’ to the very challenged. “ My head feels like it’s in a pool full of cement and the pain is too much for me to bear”. This is from the song ‘Womanhood’ where she also tells us she is losing patience with the Government and the kids next door have learned to swear. If these two are related, it is not clear.

Nothing Sweeter’ is the Canadian’s second album which is short and to the point. Of the eight tracks, only three are longer than three minutes. This is a definite case of less is more.  Each is a little vignette. Short stories that cover depression, sexism, and social awkwardness amongst other topics.

The production is very sparse and uncomplicated with Arsenault’s voice very much to the fore but throughout it’s always understated with a dreamlike quality. Giving the impression that despite numerous anxieties she is a woman in control of her emotions. It has an inert calmness to it, suggesting a comfort with herself. It has the same qualities as her fellow Canadian Amelia Curran.

It’s very hard to categorise this album. It’s clearly very heartfelt and will definitely appeal to a particular audience. It is however well worth finding the time to find out if that is you but be reminded not to try if you are in a hurry..

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