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Garden Cities of To-Morrow

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Album Review

On Garden Cities of To-morrow, Lullaby Baxter jettisons the quirky jazz approach that served her well on her first album in favor of a lush chamber pop sound that suits her sweet vocals and cheerfully daft lyrics perfectly. As produced by Hercules (a duo who released the underrated gem In the Alleyway in 2004), the record is a laid-back, layered masterpiece of shoestring studio wizardry. Every song has impeccably blended instrumentation, subtly dynamic shifts, and exactly the ornamentation the tune calls for whether it be the sad trumpet on "Little Song," the jangling guitars on "Sugar," or the swooning flutes on "Lord, I Won't Fight You Anymore." Elsewhere there are swells of organ, shimmering strings, all manner of junior-high-approved percussion, and rich layers of backing vocals that make these simple and charming melodies come to life. Baxter's breathy vocals (which call to mind Colin Blunstone in makeup and heels) recline upon these pillow-soft creations like a graceful seraph. Although you have no doubt she could belt these songs out like an AmIdol hopeful, she wisely chooses to under-sing everything, sounding lazy, sexy, and so close you could reach out and hug her. Indeed, listening to the record on headphones is an almost unbearably intimate experience. Thanks to songs as memorable and flat-out lovely as "What's Wrong with You," "Cardboard Armoured Car," and "Dumptruck," though, it's an experience you'll want to have repeatedly.

Biography

Born: Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Born Angelina Iapaolo, Lullaby Baxter (the latter part of her stage name was chosen after seeing Billy Wilder's 1960 film The Apartment) was waitressing in Montreal in 1997 when she was called up on-stage to sing a few songs. Though Baxter had been involved in the arts much of her life, she hadn't sung in public since grade school, but upon receiving compliments and advice to start writing her own songs, she began pursuing music more seriously and performing around town. After one of her shows, a...
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Garden Cities of To-Morrow, Lullaby Baxter
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