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Claire Coupland Claire Coupland
Album: On The Other Side (EP)
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 5

Claire’s a Toronto-based singer-songwriter with a strong yet smooth and tender singing voice and a polished, confident writing style, whose keen pop-country-mainstream crossover sensibility ensures likeability and radio-friendliness straight down the middle. It’s hard to credit that On The Other Side is her second EP release, so assured is her grasp of the concept of sweet, catchy melody and accessibility.

Her songs naturally concern love, its hopes and tribulations, viewed from a personal angle that however is sufficiently distanced to enable quiet and meaningful reflection. The outlook is mature and knowing, the expression thoughtful yet communicative. Claire also has a well-developed sense of instrumental scoring too, and her support team of (almost all) local musicians do the biz with a natural and easy panache. There’s some surprises too, with a gorgeous pedal steel solo from guest Fats Kaplin on the rippling what-if ballad Love In Your Eyes and a Baker-Street-style sax part on the yearning second track Fleet Street, and some neat twang guitar binding together the acoustic elements on the bouncy upbeat opening number Bound For Love. Finally, Get Outta This Town ruefully expresses the regret at the ending of a relationship without overplaying the heartache in the supportive backing even at the song’s climax.

Appealing and accomplished – and yes, complete-feeling – that this attractively-packaged EP is, however, there’s a distinct feeling that Claire’s holding something back… for the promised forthcoming full-length album maybe?

David Kidman