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We Have Made a Spark

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iTunes Review

The third album by Nova Scotia–born Rose Cousins negotiates the narrow passages between bleakness and beauty with uncommon sensitivity. We Have Made a Spark frames her clear-toned, winsomely bittersweet vocals with carefully layered production, giving each track an appealing folk-pop luster. Cousins’ music combines the poetic honesty of Joni Mitchell with the bruised resilience of Neko Case. You can hear both qualities in tracks like “The Darkness” (a penetrating character sketch driven by a rippling banjo) and “For the Best” (a loping waltz accented with keyboards and infused with fragile hope). The piano ballads “One Way” and “Go First” exquisitely capture the hurting side of love, while the country-tinged “White Daisies” and “The Shell” suggest some possibility of happiness beyond the troubles of today. Fellow singer/songwriter Mark Erelli duets with Cousins on “If I Should Fall Behind,” a pledge of romantic commitment worthy of Lucinda Williams at her tenderest. While there are few carefree moments here, “All the Stars” has a flowing, slightly jazzy quality that gives the album a lift where it’s needed.

We Have Made a Spark, Rose Cousins
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