by Derek Loewen
Singer-songwriter Dana Lee’s 2017 self-titled release is a welcoming yet reflective set of songs ranging from sweet and syrupy pop threads to heartache and longing. Calling herself “Lippy, Hippy,” Lee isn’t beating around the bush on her first release as her opening track “Let’s Dance” reveals. Her sensual lyrics mixed with stellar, syncopated drumming and upbeat whistling is the epitome of a summer’s day.
Having toured Western Canada extensively with Richard Inman including gigs at Manitoba’s hit festival Harvest Moon, her skills as a live musician have already been boasted. In a Stylus review by Ryan Haughey in April, 2018 he describes Lee’s live sound as “floating bass lines and picked jazz guitar chords”. The sound is well translated in the studio on the rhythmic “Dancing His Paradise” and includes some lighthearted, loving lyrics that will produce a true response from the listener.
EP has a lucid flow with a tone that changes drastically around the midway point with “Medal Pedal Pony”. Lee opens the track with dark sounding guitar chords and chilling, longing opening lines like “these cracking concretes and construction workers wouldn’t miss a thing, like me.” Her moodiness and sincerity resonates on “Night Away” with repeated words “bring me the night away baby” lingering behind pensive strumming.
The album closes with “In Between”, a song about love and loss. The stellar vocals remind the listener of Winnipeg folk giants Sweet Alibi. The track hits a similar nerve as a song for cruising down the highway, the singer all the time asking a distant former lover “what drove you away?” The slide guitar sounds straight out of a Tom Petty or Joe Walsh song but with an eerie distance. It’s a testament to the great recording techniques used in the making of Dana Lee’s EP, an ambitious first record that is already building anticipation for her next musical output.
Reccomended if you like CKUW’s Barking Dog (Thurs. 2pm-3:30pm) and Twang Trust (Wed. 6pm-8pm)