Basia Bulat’s fifth album, Are You in Love? is a classically soothing ride from beginning to end. For 13 songs, the Canadian singer delivers a contemporary folk album with a tender showcase of emotion. The songs vary between energetic and somber with a compassionate streak tying the whole experience together.
Bulat’s vocals fall somewhere between the likes of Stevie Nicks and Florence Welch. She swings through vulnerable notes in one song and then rallies to a full-bodied anthem in the next. In the opening titular track as well as the later song “No Control”, Bulat’s voice soars as she belts a ballad that encapsulates the chaos of falling in love, because at that point control flies out the window.
Bulat’s Appalachian yodel reverberates through her lyrics and adds a layer of gravitas to each country-styled song. Songs such as “Light Years” and “Already Forgiven” slow the pace to sway in a nostalgic rhythm about the hopes and regrets surrounding home and how time marinates these experiences. Bulat sings without holding back and captures the finely intricate and nuanced love surrounding the lives we’re tied to.
Overall the album is fun ride. Are You in Love? never falls into a rut of the same sound and comes together as an alluring full album. Bulat takes nostalgic country and folk twangs and modernizes it with a thin layer of pop to be more palatable for today’s listeners. As can be heard in “Electric Rose” and “Fables”, she takes classical rhythms and sings through a modern lens. It carries the same nostalgic themes of love, simply sung in a different setting.
As her fifth studio album, every note is thought out. She sings with fullness and control and her authenticity is alluring. She combines a robust array of acoustic instrumentals to elevate her voice and is a multi-instrumentalist who can play the autoharp, piano, electric guitar, bass; and apparently anything in the string family. The main attraction is her powerhouse vocals, and it is a worthwhile journey.
Are You in Love? makes a great addition to the catalogue of love albums. It will be especially apt for long drives or nights thinking about loved ones. The album in intended for those in the midst of a lasting relationship and is a calming balm against chaotic times.