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Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles 

The Grand Bounce (Universal)

This is a huge improvement over Downie’s first two solo albums, which often sounded dissonant (that almost-shrill register of his voice he favoured then) and disjointed. Downie dwells in his deeper tones here and his lyrics have depth without trying to be deep, or opaque for what sometimes seemed like opacity’s sake. Thematically, Downie appears to be writing about the daily changes of light and landscape in the course of a day, how we reflect those changes. Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie), who produces and plays alongside Dave Clark, Julie Doiron and Josh Finlayson, keeps the sound bright and simple. He presents the melodies as they are: beautiful. “As a Mover” and “Retrace” are good examples. This is where Downie’s solo career begins.

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