Solitaire by Fjord Mustang (Album Review)

"If everybody's looking through me, I don't exist" sings Vicky Egam, lead vocalist of Torontonian indie rockers Fjord Mustang on Five Years, the impressive opening track on their newest album 'Solitaire'. With a sound close to compatriots Alvvays, cool guitars, and rimshots-for-hi-hats drums provide a gentle, nineties college radio groove for the beguiling vocal melodies to spin their charm. There is a clear, hi-fi production quality to the album, and on Final Thoughts (Or Not) this sheen allows the drums and guitars to push Egam's intimate vocals to the centre of the mix, delivering an emotional punch. 

VHS has the group experimenting with reversed guitar and atmospherics to create a short but interesting texture to the first half of the record. Lakes Inn is a gorgeous and accessible folksy track à la Iron and Wine that fits a fully formed song into two minutes, replete with lazy guitars and birdsong. This use of brevity is repeated on the fine but somewhat unfocused Gauntlet. 

Fortune brings a sense of expanse back into the second half of the record, a frantic verse running into a catchy chorus, all in the album's coming-of-age movie soundtrack sound. Album highlight Ribbons doesn't rush its execution of masterfully played indie rock, and at the over five minutes is the album's longest track. 

The vintage cover art shows a young person sitting at a desk, resting their head on their hands, ostensibly sleeping with a smile on their face, only lit by a gentle lamp. This cover fits this scene well, and while anachronistic, I can imagine the person drifting in and out of dream worlds to this pleasantly satisfying album.