The last time we fawned over a Paradise of Bachelors artist was only last year, when The Weather Station delivered a tremendous collection of road-folk. It serves to reason that Itasca – not the Spanish tapas chain, but singer-songwriter Kayla Cohen – sits on the same plane as her labelmate, delivering a fine take on Americana on her new track Open To Chance.
If the sleeve is picturesque, the sound is just the same. Cohen seems partly mired in nostalgia on tracks like Henfight, and then within minutes beautifully shading a more present canvas on the gallop of G.B. Through it all, her voice never raises beyond a certain measure, keeping a calm and collected level that keeps her steeped in the emotion of her messages. Cohen herself says No Consequence: “Who is this blind god who walks with no regrets?”, where it’s very clear that she’s attempting to follow that path by herself.
And while the title may seem ready for a bit of recklessness, it’s in the safety of finely-honed folk guitar that Itasca finds her most comfortable home. Layman’s Banquet and Just For Tomorrow match her voice on different tempo, the latter taking an even more beautiful shade with strings quietly yearning in the background. The mood occasionally dips to maudlin (Daylight Under My Wing) but it’s balanced with enough hope and brightness to make a fine, rounded and altogether rustic-sounding record. Give it a chance yourself and fall in love with Cohen as quickly as we have.