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culture

Sound Advice: Linger Longer, by Pixie Moonshine

The former Tripping Hazard songwriter creates an intimate atmosphere. With cats.

When one’s usual listening habits are drenched in difficult, dynamic noise, sometimes a little bluesy folk is exactly the right antidote. Released last week, Linger Longer is a live-off-the-floor (or, rather, live-in-the-bedroom) record. All its songs were written and performed by Pixie Moonshine (vocals, guitar, and cello), and released under her imprint, Wombat Ending.

Pixie Moonshine is best known as the former songwriter for Toronto progressive grunge outfit Tripping Hazard (she is credited as Pixie Strokum on those albums). That group disbanded in 2011, though its last record, Running From A Bear With Your Arms, wasn’t released until February 2012.

Many of the same progressive and jazz influences that define Linger Longer were present in the work of Tripping Hazard. The songs here are fractured in the same kinds of ways, the vocals and instrumentation spiralling away from each other like broken fractals only to collide again in brief moments of harmony.

But while Linger Longer shares these technical similarities with Tripping Hazard, the execution and emotional tone is utterly different. The subtitle of the album is “live, in a bedroom, with cats” (who occasionally make their presence known with a meow). There is an intensely intimate, muffled, interior feel to the songs. They’re introverted without being claustrophobic, all warm bedding and slanted light, composed for those entire weekends of blocking out the rest of the world.

The album warms up to itself, and relaxes gradually. The opening track, “Skyline, Friction, Fire,” comes across as flustered and out of sorts (you can listen to it by clicking on the sample, above), whereas by the time “Fever” begins, Pixie’s sound is stretched out and comfortable. The album highlight is the penultimate track, “Come to Bed,” a sweet and entreating cocoon of a song that also perfectly encapsulates the feel of the record: cozy and sweetly endearing, while allowing for rough moments of pleading, awkwardness, loss, and need. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Joel Dalton, who also provides vocals on “Princess.”

Linger Longer is a perfect record to score the next weekend you spend entirely in bed, under a quilt, surrounded by cats and cooling cups of tea.

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