A local indie-pop musician's sophomore album is full of powerful, disco-inflected tracks.
Just three months in, 2013 has already been an excellent year for Toronto-based indie-pop musician Maylee Todd. The video for “Baby’s Got It,” one of the singles off her sophomore album, was nominated for the inaugural Prism Prize, which celebrates Canadian music videos. And now that album, the breezy and soulful Escapology, has been released by Do Right! Music.
Todd comes from an impressive musical pedigree, and has been associated with several of Toronto’s most beloved (and most delightfully weird) pop and indie-rock acts—for instance, The Bicycles, Woodhands, and Henri Fabergé and the Adorables. More recently, she contributed vocals to Bob Wiseman’s conceptual album, Giulietta Masina At The Oscars Crying.
An eclectic performer and songwriter, Todd is drawn to a variety of styles and influences, including jazz instrumentation, soul vocals, and even brassy, energetic bossa nova. And yet it’s her disco influence that stands out on Escapology, though the record never succumbs to mimicry. The song structures are employed cleverly enough that the sound never feels retro.
Todd’s voice is a highlight. She’s capable of producing a smooth, sleek, almost buttery tone for the more lighthearted numbers, or committing to a more gravelling, insistent croon at moments of longing or rebuke.
As well as the previously mentioned “Baby’s Got It,” Escapology also includes the single “Hieroglyphics,” a heavily disco-inspired number with an irresistible sweetness. Another album highlight is the more spirited and cosmic “Do You Know What It Is,” which comes across as the best kind of high-energy, no-nonsense telling off and dressing down of a badly behaved lover. (You can listen to “Do You Know What It Is” by clicking the sample, above.) Escapology is at times giddy and even frivolous, but its powerful, clear voice remains its core strength.