Julie Doiron’s I Thought of You offers hope and love at a time when both feel out of reach.
Everything is bad and wretched and cursed. (Those are mostly just synonyms but the point stands.) And then there is Julie Doiron on her new album, I Thought of You, offering hope and love at a time when they feel out of reach. “Here I am,” Doiron sings on the opening track “You Gave Me The Key,” “starting over again.”
I Thought of You is Doiron’s first album since 2012 released under her own name but she’s not alone. She’s with a band of familiar names that include Dany Placard (bass), Daniel Romano (guitar, keys, percussion), and Ian Romano (drums) with Michael Feuerstack playing pedal steel on “Darkness To Light.” Like so much of Doiron’s incredible body of work, these rock songs are tightly composed with simple elements that allow Doiron’s voice to breathe and for her affable melodies to soar. It makes it easy to pick out the happiness that Doiron discovers and rediscovers throughout the album. She finds refuge in the water on the closing acoustic track “Back to the Water.” Like a letter opener’s quick slit across an envelope, her heart is set free on “The Letters We Sent,” singing, “My heart wasn’t opеn yet. Oh, I wasn’t looking, but my heart, you managed to open it.”
I’ve decided to treat I Thought of You like a once-a-day dose of joy so maybe I’m only hearing the things that I want to hear. Because there’s a lot of pain in Dorion’s lyrics, too, and jangling and whining guitar riffs to match. On “Dreamed I Was,” reality crashes a warm dream and replaces it with a cold, empty bed. On “Ran,” brash guitar stomps are like heavy boots crunching the snow and disrupting the quiet winter air: “You’d pretend to love me but I don’t believe you.”
But then there’s “Darkness To Light.” “I made it through the darkness, was stuck there for a while,” Doiron sings. “And I know that some of my friends are stuck in there right now.” And its beautiful conclusion, “And now I’m living in the light and it’s begging me to stay. Oh yeah, I’m dancing in the light, and it’s begging me to stay.” The song is so heartening and its triumph floods I Thought of You. And I can’t stop bathing in that brightness.
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