In fact those quick eclectic changes within the songs are as impressive as Grant's broader foray into new genres throughout the LP. Prime example: the tit-for-tat minimalist rhythm at the opening of "Galaxies," which builds up and eventually bursts into a synth-y supernova. Her sultry purring in the opening moments of "In My Dreams," meanwhile, is later usurped by the arrival of thwacking drums that could rouse a hibernating bear. Then, in the song's last minute, there's an exhilarating string section crescendo that makes it feel like another tune entirely, before the proceedings return to their initial, ambient style.
Yet, for all the LP's adventurousness, it's "Lion With Me," a standout early track like nothing else on the rest of the LP, that enthrals the most. Here, Grant soothingly yet slyly sings about echoing voices, eyes like crystal, whistling winds and smoke signals rising from the hemlock, as pedal steel and knotty acoustic guitar strums flourish in the background. It's a timeless, rootsy acoustic ballad that would enthral any folk fan.
Minimalist instrumentals, perhaps a piano, loose drum patterns, and some light guitar most often back her up. This allows her ethereal vocals to dominate, transporting us to sun dappled fields of Canada. Seemingly on a dime, she shifts from soaring high notes to steadily uttered altos plucked as though her voice itself were acoustic.
And her singing is only one component of the masterwork that is Paradise. Her lyrics tell stories and detail experiences in sometimes abstract, sometimes poignant phrases and lines. While it is often easy to lose yourself in the beauty and upbeat tone of her voice, a closer examination will reveal that many of her lyrics are born of pain and struggle, belied by the personal strength she exudes on every track.
(Rainbow Exotic Music)