Ohbijou first romanced me two summers ago in a small place outside of Guelph whose name I now forget. We had all found ourselves in rural Ontario for Track and Field, a three-day music festival hosted by Brantford-cum-Toronto’s Social Arts Club, and the six-piece ensemble had rung in twilight on the porch of a cabin for a crowd equally mesmerized by their sentimental, symphonic strains. That summer, all that could be had of Ohbijou was a home-recorded three-song EP in a hand-glued paper sleeve.
In the background as I type this review, Grant Lawrence tells CBC Radio One’s Sounds Like Canada host Shelagh Rogers about how he first met Ohbijou when the Mecija sisters slipped him a copy of their self-titled EP. Since then, Lawrence has also promoted the “grace and orchestration” of Ohbijou as fervently as I’ve circulated my copy of their demo amongst friends and acquaintances.
Maybe you caught Sounds Like Canada, or have already heard the unforgettable “St. Francis” on the CBC Radio 3 Podcast. Either way, I urge you to log on to ohbijou.com and trade PayPal $15 for a mail order copy of Swift Feat for Troubling Times. I fear otherwise that it may be some time before Ohbijou pack up the loveliest ballads in all of Canada and make the laborious trek across this sprawling nation. Until they get here, strings in arm, the simple honesty of an album like Swift Feet for Troubling Times, from “Widths and Curves” through “Tumbleweeds,” might be enough to get us through the customary months of grey winter along the coast. I would bet my own copy on the sway of Ohbijou to move all listeners, east and west, from start to finish, had I not already lent it to a friend.