Someone once asked me why DOMINIONATED doesn’t tag its posts by music genre, to which I replied with an admittedly long and likely opaque explanation about genre’s irrelevancy in modern music’s current sub-niche-ified state. A better explanation would have been to simply offer up the music of ursidae (the solo project of Vancouver-based musician Caro Deady) as an example of how immaterial genre is at defining and describing music. Based on traditional songwriting, informed by contemporary artists slotted into catch-all “alt” categorizations, and clearly marking out a subtle, slow-burning path of her own, ursidae’s 2018 almost//closer EP can’t be confined by any one tag.
almost//closer repays your patience and openness in spades. Opener “almost//love” is a gathering torrent of emotion, swelling with desire and desperation. Deady’s voice is alive with feeling, punctuated by a lightning-strike arrangement of strings, guitar, and swirling atmospherics. “//come no closer” treads similar waters, amping up tensions and offering a cathartic, cleansing release before tackling “♡breaker”, a bold and beautiful cover of Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker”.
I get why genre and categorization may have been relevant before the explosion of sub-genres and cross-pollinating musical styles. You could make an argument for genre’s ongoing relevancy amidst the ever-increasing deluge of music and art bidding for our attention. Still, I listen to a subtle record of substance like ursidae’s almost//closer and feel labelling it with broad identifiers only does the art and artist a great disservice. almost//closer is almost pop, closer to folk than rock, but it’s also music that’s nowhere close to being summed up by a neat and tidy tag. However, if society dictates that genre-tagging is the norm, who am I to rebel?
RIYL: “damn fine”, “deeply moving”, and “unflinchingly unclassifiable” music.