Secret Meeting score: 78
by Joseph Purcell
After meeting in a hallway of a recording studio, Kathryn Calder of New Pornographers fame and Mark Hamilton of Canadian folk collective, Woodpigeon, resolved to work together. The result of this meeting is Frontperson– a duo that combines Calder’s instincts for effortlessly catchy pop and Hamilton’s ear for an eclectic sounds, resulting in an album packed with intrigue.
Opening with the atmospheric catharsis of UOI, Frontrunner begins at pace with a track encased in the gorgeous intertwined vocals of Calder and Hamilton, set beautifully over the spacious soundscape of majestic violin strings. The whimsical folk of Long Night fits endearingly amongst the wonderful influx of female folk artists – Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus – all of whom have made such an impact of late. While lead single, Tick Tock, is a terrific slice of pop, with a catchy conversational back and forth vocal delivered over differing melodies that encapsulate the true talents of Calder and Hamilton at their very best.
Second single, Young Love is anchored by its sharp pitched vocal, complimenting beautifully the driving warmth of an acoustic din. And the quickening catchy beat of This City Is Mine threatens to burst free, but ultimately feels like an opportunity missed after an intriguing opening.
In a year of fresh musical marriages, notably Cate Le Bon and White Fence’s Tim Presley project Drinks, Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner’s Big Red Machine, and the upcoming Baker, Dacus & Bridgers collaboration boygenius, Frontperson should not be overlooked. Both Calder and Hamilton delivered bright pop, turbulent atmospheric tapestries and heartfelt folk gems- let’s hope it is not a one off.