If only there existed a genre of music for “easy listening” that wasn’t tainted by implications of soulless dirge and AM radio. How easy it would then be to describe pop tunes that are beautiful and arresting, as well as easy to love. Julie Doiron’s latest release, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day, is so sweet and gracious that cynics would be inclined to immediately disregard it as unchallenging pop. However, there is a rich vein of philosophy in Doiron’s music awaiting those listeners who take the time to get beyond the initial pleasantries.
On her new release, Doiron’s signature style of direct, self-reflexive musing remains, but it’s shaped by a vein of optimism formerly absent from most of her songs. Her vivid, precise tableaux, always rich in detail and tenderness, range in tone from the domestic to the quietly adventurous; it is simultaneously the music of bike rides with your friends and afternoons spent sitting in the grass, and of awakening to a bewildering world of contradictions and mysteries. Doiron explores all of these scenes with joyful wonder, while maintaining all the spare delicacy and precision of a spider’s web. This is exemplified on the stellar “When Brakes Get Wet,” which is so leanly evocative that it seems to exist completely separate from the human mind that conceived it. Doiron’s economical use of language shines on this album, making it as satisfying and meaningful on the tenth listen as it was on the first.