Jane Vain & The Dark Matter : Love Is Where the Smoke Is

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/janevainloveiswhere.jpg" alt=" " />Calgary’s Jane Vain & The Dark Matter deliver some sonic, emotional beauty on their full-length debut, <em>Love Is Where the Smoke Is</em>....
7.6 Rectangle
2008 

  Singer/songwriter Jamie Fooks (Jane Vain) lays her soulful voice over harmonic indietronica, while peppering it all with some additional elements.  While sometimes Love Is can drag, and other times get a mite full of itself, there’s a splendor that can’t be denied.

“Don’t Mind Us” opens Love Is with Fooks’ high melody, alongside an electronic-meets-folk backbeat; the choral piece is effective in its sentiment.  Jane Vain goes for a more disco-dark attitude on the following “I’m So Afraid”, with almost a drive to the tempo.  That up-tempo rhythm is put to a more interesting effect on “Moving Notes”, as it provides a nice counter-point to Fooks’ soul-singer vibes on the number.

Those soul-singer vibes come out on more than a few other tracks on Love Is.  While the following “These Ghosts” is bigger and a little overreaching, the soul-singer/indietronica approach of “The Bird’s Song” is touching.  However, both the string-heavy “Last Chance for Romance” and the atmospheric “Ships Bound To Sink” can feel like something of a crawl at times.

While that provides a strong basis, in many ways Jane Vain & The Dark Matter are better when they try for something more.  “Oh Captain” moves well; a bit of a sea shanty, it also features some great accordion.  Finisher “We Must Destroy” employs irony and alt-country to really carry the listener.  And single “C’mon Baby Say Bang Bang” takes the slow, soul-singer verse and expertly matches it up with a great catchy-drive chorus beat.

Jane Vain & The Dark Matter previously opened up for Cat Power, and there’s definitely something similar in their wise-but-open voices and attitudes, welcoming to the world, despite all of its flaws.  About to start a coast-to-coast tour of their native Canada, look for the smoke, and you’ll find the love.

MP3 Stream: "C'mon Baby Say Bang Bang"

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– Tom Balfour
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