These Wilder Things
On her second solo album, Ruth Moody further explores inner regions of the heart while adding new twists and embellishments to her acoustic-based approach. As one-third of The Wailin’ Jennys, the Canadian singer/songwriter established herself as a gifted ensemble member. On her own, she can probe a full emotional range with unusual sensitivity. With production input from David Travers-Smith, Moody stretches her folk sound beyond traditional confines, most notably on a simmering cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.” That song's mix of longing and resolve is echoed in Moody’s own writing, especially the title track (an aching survivor’s ballad shaded with synths and horns) and “Nothing Without Love” (tender yet resolute, with old-time jazz accents). Mark Knopfler lends murmuring guitars and a dark-tinged vocal to “Pockets”; Aoife O’Donovan adds to the vocal richness of “One Light Shining.” Moody’s finely textured soprano gives These Wilder Things an appealing intimacy. The album’s upbeat moments (like the love song “One and Only”) help balance its prevailing bittersweet tone.