I promised myself I wouldn’t call this album quirky. That is, beyond a doubt, how most people would describe Québécois artist Carole Facal, who performs under the stage name Caracol. She left her home in Sherbrooke, Quebec for snowboarding on the slopes of British Columbia. Somewhere along the way she picked up a guitar, and we can all be grateful for that fact. The critically-acclaimed artist has now released her second solo album, Shiver.
Before I get into the music, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the album art. Repeating motifs of snowy owls, a mysterious woman and hearts on fire adorn the album. The lyrics booklet folds out into an art nouveau poster by an artist simply credited as “Malleus.” It’s beautiful in a viscerally terrifying way.
Caracol’s stinging strings and vocals are fleshed out by a wide assortment of musical credits from friends. Her vocals have a bite to them that is hard to ignore — a passion that is always exhilarating to hear from an artist. The French songs on the album are just as gorgeous as her English work, and even someone with my pitiful understanding of French can appreciate her ability.
If I had to choose two songs on Shiver that stand above the rest I’d direct your attention to “Summer Blues,” a sexy blues song of loss and regret, and “Horseshoe Woman,” a delightful country foot-stomper.
So why don’t I want to call Shiver quirky? Because quirky implies that this kind of music is odd or peculiar. No, this is the kind of music I wish was more commonplace. This album is excellent. Go buy it.