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Lynn Miles: “Unravel”

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The fourth album from Ottawa-based singer-songwriter Lynn Miles is filled with songs of heartbreak and loss. A quick glance at the track listing, with song titles like “You’re Not Coming Back”, “Over You”, and “I Give Up”, will tell you that. Yet, through it all, she manages to make being melancholy seem like a good thing.

Produced by long time collaborator Ian Lefeuvre, Unravel features at least one prime candidate for commercial radio: “Undertow”. It’s melodic and beautiful, all the things that should catch the ear of the general public. But the real highlight of the album is the title track, with it’s recorded live feeling and singalong chorus: “You can read a lot of books, it don’t make you smart/Kiss a lot of fools, don’t mean you got a heart/Walk a million miles, don’t mean that you travelled/Make a perfect plan and see it all unravel.” You’re Not Coming Back” is a bleak yet powerful song, describing the change from autumn to winter, from happiness to a broken heart. “Brave Parade” is a tribute to those who fall in love despite adversity and overwhelming odds, about people “who know that all the money’s probably spent/Every deadline came and went/Who know that love is not a game/That life is equal joy and pain.” She even throws a dose of reality into the Wizard of Oz with the final track on the album, “Surrender Dorothy”. The arrangements are stripped down to the essentials and Miles’ lyrics are simple, yet strong. This is an album for people “who know that sad songs matter most”.