Ian Foster CD Review, March 2009

Ian Foster
Room in the City
MusicNL
A+

By: Brandon Goulding

Ian Fosters second album Room in the City is a breathe of fresh air with creative lyrics, interested use of a variety of instruments, and a guest appearance by the legendary Ron Hynes. Teeming with folk, rock, and blues flavors, this album is brilliantly produced; no wonder it was nominated for a 2008 ECMA.

The songs, and the album as a whole, have great dynamics with Foster’s soft-raspy capturing the listeners attention and his lyrics bringing you through stories of long drives, dark nights, love, and love lost. Beginning with “A Lesson in Geography,” Foster introduces us to his folky side with a playful Jack Johnson like air and a bitchin’ xylophone solo.

Melanie O’Brien adds some sultry vocals to “Sodium” and “Berlin.” -- The former with a great rock feel and the latter having more emotion and great layering of the vocals with the slow guitar and string section.

“Without a Mark” is wonderfully dark with a carnival type sound give me the same feeling I get when listening to Euphoria by Sarah Slean. You’ll have to listen to both to get exactly what I mean, but it’ll be well worth it.

The last three songs of Room in the City return to the folky type sounds that started the album, leaving the electric guitar on it’s stand and adding a strings section to mellow things out a little. Ending the album with “Decisions,” Foster has reverted all the way back to the bare necessities – an acoustic guitar and a phenomenal voice. Co-writer by Ron Hynes, who also lends his voice to the track, “Decisions” is brilliant and thoughtful.

Room in the City is by far one of the best albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to this year. Creative, dark, rocky, and altogether brilliant this record has a little of everything.

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