Canadian folkie Dana Gavanski comes of age with a plaintive and refreshing take on lovelorn indie-pop confessionals.
Love-sick troubadours inhabit the genre of introspective, confessional singer-songwriter folk using heartbreak as a well-worn trope, yet the wispy, becalming pop of Canadian singer-songwriter Dana Gavanski injects the emotionally fraught fault-lines of relationship breakdown with vim and flair on her debut album, Yesterday Is Gone.
As befits its title, this understated and fragile collection of break-up songs gathers sustenance, wisdom and strength from its author’s frank and matter-of-fact acceptance of life’s vicissitudes and the painful inevitability of endings. “I’m learning how to say goodbye,” the Vancouver-born, Toronto-based artist ruminates on the lilting title track, as exquisite and crisply melodic a sweet spot as you’re likely to hear all year.
Gavanski is evidently already accomplished at tip-toeing between whimsy and breeziness, employing a taut economy as well as purveying a fine line in simmering atmospherics, witness the gentle groove of Good Instead of Bad and the delicate finger-picking of One By One. Her undemonstrative, waltzing tunes and smoky production reveal a penchant for pastoralist contemplation, slo-mo strums and meditative chamber-pop, with subtle, spectral layers and ingredients revealing their charms inconspicuously after a few listens. Memories Of Winter, the record’s stark, sombre and bleak closer, captures her armed with self-knowledge and recognising an impasse: once the love is gone, it’s never coming back.
Influences of various contemporaries seep in sporadically– a smidgen of Aldous Harding, a touch of Cate Le Bon, an echo of Julia Jacklin – amongst the quiet, creeping guitar chords, cascading melody lines and breathy vocals, without ever distracting from the singular, prickly pleasure of this plaintive scab-picking.