Louise Burns Drops Brilliant New Album ‘Element’

Louise Burns
Photo: Mackenzie Walker

Vancouver singer-songwriter and producer Louise Burns releases her fifth solo album, Element, permeated by a warm, tranquil vibe.

Louise Burns
Louise Burns | Photo: Derek Janzen

Speaking about the album, Burns shares, “‘Element’ is a pop album for introverts. A soundtrack to accompany a trip into one’s inner world when the outside one isn’t cutting it.”

She goes on, “I really leaned into samples this time around, as well as soft synths. For a period of time, I felt like I had to use analog gear, or my peers wouldn’t take me seriously, then one day I woke up like, wtf am I talking about! I really leaned into the tools I had accessible to me during lockdown. The Arturia V7 collection, Massive, all the sub-bass patches I could find… We live in such a democratic time in music where artists can access so much without selling their kidneys.”

Primarily co-produced between Burns and Jason Corbett at his Jacknife Studios in Vancouver, Element also features collaborations with Colin Janz (Teset) and vocologist Carol-Lynne Quinn. The nine-strong track album was pieced together over a two-and-a-half-year span between Burns’ home and Mexico.

Burns began her career as the 11-year-old bassist/vocalist in the all-female teen pop-punk band Lillix, followed by going solo and joining the alt-rock trio the Blue Violets. She dropped her debut record, Mellow Drama, in 2011, followed by Midnight Mass, Young Mopes, long listed for Canada’s Polaris Aware, and Portraits.

Element begins with the deliciously atmospheric “I Don’t Feel Like I Used To,” riding a syncopated beat topped by soft, shimmering leitmotifs. Slightly ominous and dreamy, Burns’ vocals imbue the lyrics with momentous flavors.

Entry points include “Bloom,” with its glowing vocal harmonies and hints of new wave and pop textures. The bassline on the track fills the tune with fat, throbbing tones, giving the song thrumming residual energy.

Almost dream-pop-like, the title track conjures up vague suggestions of Julia Fordham, replete with silky, radiant harmonies, drifting on creamy surfaces. While the cashmere mood and flow of “Hot Girls” hits all the right notes, at once iridescent and echoing.

Burns’ evocative cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘See You” ties the album off with stylish savors of dark, pop-laced new wave.

Wonderfully crafted, Element offers polychromatic coloration, lush vocals, contagious rhythms, and the crème de la crème voice of Louise Burns.

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