Under Review

Imaginary Cities

Temporary Resident

Hidden Pony

Review By Nathan Pike

Calm Before The Storm
Now this is my kind of music. Haunting, sweet, uplifting, soulful and emotive. Simply a two-piece with a little backup here and there, Imaginary Cities plays music that makes me want to cuddle with my lover as we watch the windows fog up and listen to the rain come down. Blues/folk singer Marti Sarbit and Waking Eyes/Weakerthans multi-instrumentalist Rusty Matyas met one evening when Matyas was pulling sound duties for Sarbit’s Motown cover band. Such a fan of Sarbit’s smoky pipes, Rusty penned a song and asked her to sing on it. When the finished product turned out as well as it did, it was clear that a musical partnership was in the making. Temporary Resident, their debut album is the result, and it is pretty stunning from top to bottom; “pretty” being the key word here. But in an album ripe with the pretty, I balk at trying to find a super-favourite, although “Where’d All the Living Go” is pretty great. Then again, I am a sucker for bare instrumentation and sweet vocal harmonies, even when the content has to do with failed love. A couple other stellar tracks are the rousing “Hummingbird” and “Ride This Out,” the latter sounding like an after hours church hoedown that makes me want to sin and be forgiven. With tight, learned immediacy in the music, and a voice that reaches into the dusky dark and humid parts of the soul, Imaginary Cities is butter. Thick, rich, and when mixed with the right elements, it helps create something moist and fluffy. But this isn’t muffin music, nor is it simply icing. This is more like blues-fried cornbread with a hint of dark honey.