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Grayowl Point Review, Excellent

You have to hand it to Joel Plaskett- he knows talent when he sees it. The astonishingly young Mo Kenney has just released her debut album, and it sounds like it could be an album released by someone with decades more life experience.

When I first encountered Kenney’s music (before reading anything about her) I immediately assumed that I was listening to some veteran of the Canadian music scene that I had just somehow never heard of. Of course, I was wrong. The two songs I heard were “Eden” and “The Great Escape,” both tracks you’ll hear on the album. The former is a simple but pretty acoustic song, while the latter picks up speed (and instruments) as it goes along.

It’s a little tricky to accurately describe all the reasons that Kenney is so wonderful. One of the reasons has to do with Kenney’s musical arrangements. While they start out usually pretty simply, they may or may not evolve into something more. While “Eden” stays in the same place for the whole song (which is not a bad thing at all), “I Can’t Talk” starts out with a rather melancholy tune which ends unexpectedly with some fuzzy electric guitar.

Kenney’s vocals are another reason to love this album. They’re powerful and they’re confident, such as in “Sucker” where Kenney sings “Shut your mouth ’cause talk is cheap.” Her delivery really sells that line.

Plaskett does make a few appearances on the album and his presence is a warm one. “Scene of the Crime” is a solid track right in the middle of the album that features Plaskett playing some distorted electric guitar. “Deja Vu” is probably the catchiest song the album, featuring a full backing band with Plaskett providing some backup vocals.

“In My Lungs” manages to be surprisingly hypnotic, featuring some ethereal sounds toward the end of an otherwise simple acoustic tune. “Five Years” shows again Kenney’s unpredictability, featuring some punchy drums for the song’s first half.

Mo Kenney’s debut album will be over before you know it, and it’s one you’ll likely be playing over and over again. If Kenney can produce a sound this mature already, it wouldn’t be surprising to see her name up at Joel Plaskett’s level sometime soon.

The album will be available September 25th via Pheromone Records, in partnership with New Scotland Records. Check out Kenney’s website for details on how to get the album, and see her as she tours across Canada as a special guest to Joel Plaskett before her CD release show in October in Toronto.

by Michael Thomas