Charlotte Day Wilson’s sophomore release filled with dreamy rewards

Layered vocals and gentle beats power “Cyan Blue”

Charlotte Day Wilson Cyan Blue Album cover

Charlotte Day Wilson :

Cyan Blue

Genre: Lo-fi, R&B

If you like: LOONY, Arlo Parks, SZA
Best track: Over The Rainbow
Release date: Fri., May 3
Rating: NNNN (out of 5)
Next: Plays History, Thurs., June 6
Why you should listen: The layered vocals and gentle beats of Cyan Blue offer the perfect backdrop to Wilson’s dreamy, wistful lyrics. A surprise cover in the back half is one of the album’s strongest offerings, featuring Jacob Collier-esque production over Wilson’s luxurious R&B rasp. All in, Cyan Blue doesn’t achieve anything particularly revolutionary, but it’s an easy-to-digest record of lo-fi ambience that features some impressive vocal control from Wilson — it’ll be the summer perfect album to soundtrack long days at Woodbine Beach or boozy sunsets with friends at Trinity Bellwoods Park.

If you only heard the first track on Charlotte Day Wilson’s sophomore album, you might get the wrong idea of what Cyan Blue does best.

My Way kicks the record off with cool, acoustic twang and production that almost makes the track sound like it was captured within the walls of a hip coffee shop or lounge. You might think you’re in for a lot of guitars and a lot of reverb — it’s a deceptive start for an album whose brightest sparkle comes from its electronic enhancements. As the track matures, so does its production: Bon Iver-style vocals begin to layer over Wilson’s own, velvety voice, adding depth to the lo-fi beat.

That slick beat continues into the second track, Dovetail, and Wilson begins to show off her many sides. On one track, she’s moody, deflecting the world’s gaze with thick, too-cool-for-you armour. On the next, she’s introspective, cutting herself open and bleeding her most personal, chewed-on thoughts. There’s a quiet violence to Cyan Blue, a brewing storm that never quite breaks as Wilson continues to revert to digestible chord progressions and low-impact snares. Across the album, Wilson demonstrates impressive vocal control and, production-wise, those layered vocals might be some of the most impressive flexes from producers Leon Thomas and Jack Rochon.

Cyan Blue begins to feel a touch repetitive by its fourth track, Forever, but thankfully track five, Do U Still, swoops in to save the day, infusing the record’s smoky atmosphere with bluesy seven chords and greater depth to Wilson’s voice. The album’s second half is by far its strongest, offering catchy tunes like Canopy (which in many ways evokes TLC’s No Scrubs) and a gorgeous, complicated cover of Judy Garland’s Over the Rainbow that stands out as the strongest track on the record. Riskier production choices peek through the surface of Over the Rainbow, with cacophonous interludes that recall Jacob Collier’s whimsical harmonies and instrumentations — it’s a fabulous, unexpected cover that seals the deal of Wilson’s artistry.

All in, Cyan Blue doesn’t achieve anything particularly new or revolutionary, but it’s an easy-to-digest record of lo-fi ambience that features some impressive vocal control from Wilson. This is the album you’ll play at house parties or as underscoring for summer road trips — it’s a cool, cool record and a solid second outing for Wilson.

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