I am as goofily entranced by this rambling, ramshackle, homespun groove of a song now as I was a few years ago when I first came across it. The MP3 was initially online via Higgs but when it disappeared, which made me sad, I got in touch with her and she said it was fine if I hosted it moving forward. So this one comes courtesy of the official Fingertips media library, as very very few of the songs here actually do.
Rebekah Higgs – “Parables”
[from “This Week’s Finds,” Nov. 12, 2007]
This one starts almost before the musicians have picked up their instruments. We hear tuning, we hear the singer warming up, and then we hear the song kick in, but listen carefully––in addition to the instantly engaging and well-textured groove, you’ll hear a layer or two of ghostly electronics echoing in the aural distance. Unlike many who have explored a mix of acoustic and electronic sounds (often a simple mashing of acoustic guitar and laptop effects), Higgs uses electronics with an orchestral flair, weaving beautiful howls and altered vocal effects into a down-home mix of guitar, drums, banjo, and strings. At the song’s center are a resilient, six-measure melody (the same for both verse and chorus) and Higgs’ breathy-scratchy, bumpy-yet-frisky voice. Together they can do no wrong; interspersed with noodly sections featuring the words “I will” amidst an eddying swirl of loops, indistinct sounds, stray lyrics, and banjo, the main melody returns each time like a trusty friend. The end result is hypnotic–the song is five minutes long but might as well be two or ten, time kind of becoming elastic in the hands of this 24-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist from Halifax with a bright bright future. “Parables” is the lead track off her self-titled debut CD, given a remastered, Canada-wide release last month by Toronto-based Outside Music. (Higgs had self-released the CD in a limited release last year; the Outside version also contains two extra songs.) Thanks to Chromewaves for the lead.
ADDENDUM: After a couple of years of relative quiet, Higgs is up and running again; a new album, Odd Fellowship, appears to be on the way. A video for her new song “Drunk Love” was posted just a couple of days ago on YouTube, so what the heck, here you go: