EASTBOROUGH - YOUR PLACE
(Released Sept. 23, 2011)
The musical landscape is dramatically changing and Stefani Guzman, and her musical project of Eastborough, are living proof of that truth. With one EP, a single and now, finally, one full-length album spanning back to 2006, Eastborough have done things the way most musicians do things, now; when they can and on the side of everything else.
As an Ottawa-based band that received some acclaim from Chart Attack and Live 88.5 back in ’06, things were pumping along for Eastborough with the release of their EP ‘S/T’. In 2009, however, Stefani felt the need to pack up and move, while forming a new band and giving her music a go in big smoke of Toronto. After a lot of waiting and wondering, ‘Your Place’ just might be the fruits of a hard-earned labour.
‘Shuffle and Slide’ kicks off the record with a dancey, pluck-rhythmic melody that skips along sidewalks and careens along with a happy spirit. Guzman repeats the words ‘I don’t care/I don’t know because I’m letting go’ over and over with a cool, carefree tone. One of the strongest tracks of the record, though, is the third song ‘Absent President’ that bolsters the listener forward on a soundscape of strong-strumming acoustic guitars and a speeding drumbeat. The line ‘the sun always shines through the shadows of the ones we’ve lost’ seems to remind Guzman of a memory that keeps her going.
Guzman’s vocals are strong and often layered to perfection – not to the point of overkill but just on the threshold of making a listening audience sit up and stick their ears closer to the speaker. ‘Your Place’ has a good sonic variety, pumping out strong, break-neck electro-rock at times and hanging back with soulful folksiness at others (with mellow moments like the acoustic/cello-based ‘When You Ask’).
Though it’s a little low on theme or lyrical depth at times, ‘Your Place’ is a record that will boost your spirits on a solemn Sunday afternoon. Eastborough are the watermark of a strong songwriter and a strong musical troupe who have not let years between projects weaken their attack. As only the third major release from Eastborough, it’s obvious that Guzman and crew are on to something promising, here.