by Sam Doucet
Jacob Brodovsky has been doing a lot of thinking. At a time when many artists are pumping out material at breakneck pace to keep their names in the conversation, and most of them are already working on their second or third pandemic-driven album, this Winnipeg troubadour has taken his time in releasing his debut full-length, the ever-so-cloyingly titled I Love You and I’m Sorry. It’s the first recordings we’ve heard from him since 2019’s Sixteen Years EP, which introduced many local ears to Brodovsky’s pensive and unhurried brand of indie folk.
ILYAIS offers the listener a more richly developed selection of songs than on previous releases – owing to the patience and care Brodovsky took in writing the songs, as well as the who’s who of local musicians that lend their talents to the ten tracks herein. The lyrics on this album range from literal and bleak, to metaphorical and brimming with whimsy – with the fluctuations in musical tone to match. The opener, “Me and My Mental Health,” paints a picture of helplessness and guilt, in a combination all too familiar to those of us living through unprecedented global strife from a distance. “The Night Baker” picks up the pace with a more pronounced beat and a curious story cloaked in – I assume – at least a metaphor or two. Elsewhere on the album, we’re treated to a truly touching account of Brodovsky meeting his sweetheart, a brutal fly-on-the-wall retelling of post-breakup conversations over coffee, and a universally-relatable number about the weight of expectations.
Brodovsky’s voice sometimes tiptoes over his gentle strumming and at times, cascades over the wailing slide guitar that lends an air of melancholy to many of the slower tracks on ILYAIS. Well-placed strings, piano, and vocal harmonies offer a new depth to his compositions. The influences of John K. Samson and later-era Wilco are on full display here, but Brodovsky’s engaging mix of highly personal and undeniably universal musings are something that listeners will be wanting more of before long. This album took its time coming into being – but the result is the album Brodovsky wanted to give us, one whose tone is bleak, honest, and endearing.