I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day is an unassuming piece of singer-songwriter fare that mainly focuses on family (from the perspective of a parent), and romantic relationships. Doiron confesses to not being able to write about anything other than her own life, so the content of these songs are like diary entries, doses of the everyday. This album sees her link up with ex-bandmate (and just plain ex) Rick White from Eric’s Trip (90s Canadian band named after the Sonic Youth song, playing noisy but wimpy songs, and first Canadian band signed to Sub Pop), who helms production duties.
There are thick ropes of distorted guitar trailing through this album, most splendidly displayed in ‘Spill Yer Lungs’, where it slips out in a casual and catchy buzz. Throughout the album the drum work is neat with some nice details spread over the kit, the bass is a subtle entity just helping to pull the songs along, but it all works on a small scale, tight and even slightly restrained. The gorgeous buzz of the guitar can become comforting, on ‘Lovers Of The World’ it’s a little drowsy, and on ‘Tailor’ it has this soft flutter, before some bottleneck riffing finishes the song. Paired with this style is a stripped-down acoustic style, not so very far from someone like Kimya Dawson on tracks like ‘The Life Of Dreams’, especially when you consider the lyrics, which are all about life going really well, ‘living the life of dreams/with good people around me… feeling hopefully’. ‘Nice To Come Home’ is similar in sound, the lyrics are about being separated from her partner through work (touring and recording, presumably), and looking forward to coming home, imagining what her partner is doing there at that moment, and there’s also a nice little twist where it gets meta as Doiron sings about coming up with the song that she is now singing. One deviation from all this positivity and happiness is ‘Blue’, you get punched in the gut by, ‘I decided, long ago, never to laugh again/I decided long ago, never to cry again’, all the more powerful for being delivered near the end of the album (contrasting the tone, letting the darkness in, however briefly), having a mournful echo, and for being one of very few lyrics in the song. The track that follows it, and finishes the album, is ‘Glad To Be Alive’, so we know that the dark pain that is allowed to surface in ‘Blue’ is being fought and overcome by Doiron in the end.
I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day is: a short 1/2 hour listen, nicely put-together, engaging, slightly annoying if you listen to it in a cynical mood, but overall comforting and warm. Not bad at all.
Julie Doiron on MySpace