Shirley Hurt, the project of Toronto-based musician, Sophie Katz has just announced details of her self-titled album which marks her debut on Telephone Explosion Records. Out on December 2, news of the record arrives today alongside the first single, “Problem Child” – for many, this is probably the first glimpse into Katz’s all-encompassing Shirley Hurt universe.
Throughout the course of nine songs, Shirley Hurt traverses into the furthest corners of experimental indie folk, pop and country, alchemizing a singular sound that integrates elements of each with elegant unpredictability and ease. Skeletal arrangements tastefully slink around Hurt’s compelling voice, an instrument in its own right that brings to mind some of the great classically leftfield singers while retaining a distinctiveness that is increasingly rare in this era. Recorded with the likes of saxophonist, Joseph Shabason (Fresh Pepper, The War on Drugs), bassist Chris Shannon, producer Nathan Vanderwielen (Bart), guitarist Harrison Forman, percussionist Jason Bhattacharya, violinist Jacques Mindreau and pianist Nick Durado, Katz leaned on an accomplished band to help piece the project together.
The first single, “Problem Child” is a solid eye into the distinct, nascent world of Shirley Hurt. Meditative guitar is layered upon Bhattacharya’s assertive percussion, Shabason’s flute work and Durado’s twinkling keys, summoning comparisons to the quirky alt-pop of Aldous Harding and contemporary folk of Dana Gavanski. It’s Katz’s distinctive voice that really shines here, however, gliding in the quiet moments of the track to stand front and centre.