As hard as I try, it's difficult to discuss the music of Julie Doiron without conjuring images of maternity--a slope made all the more slippery with the inevitability of terms like "singer/songwriter" and "earnest." This is, admittedly, a little insensitive, but it's a near insurmountable obstacle when attempting to engage a reader in the brilliance of a performer when faced with a triumvirate powerful enough to tickle even my mother's Joni Mitchell gag reflex. It's unjust, but the singularity of motherhood can be incredibly alienating fodder for pop music--but against popular assumption, Doiron mines motherhood in ways that speak a universal tongue.
Since the mid-'90s dissolution of Eric's Trip--the near-legendary Canadian lo-fi band she joined at 18--Doiron has quietly crafted a string of discreet, critically acclaimed folk-pop records under both her own name and that of Broken Girl. The records--first released on her own Sappy Records imprint, then later on Sub Pop (home of Eric's Trip) and Jagjaguwar--were a studied reduction of her previous Eric's Trip presence, which was largely a fuzz-backed, coy darkness. Her early works (the self-titled Broken Girl LP and its follow-up, Loneliest in the Morning) were quaintly twee lo-fi excursions in the Softies vain--at the time more notable for their sonic dissimilarity with Eric's Trip than their consistency in songwriting.
It was also about this time that Doiron began to breed--the strains of her maternal bond webbing her work with an unlikely urgency--and with each subsequent record the quality of her craft has improved exponentially. Her latest album, the gorgeous Goodnight Nobody, is arguably her most accomplished to date--the bare candor of her words reaching a faultless balance of poetry and simplicity. What at first play out like simple songs of love and desperation, her portraits reveal themselves to be blanketed in the sweetness of motherhood--a place where the triviality of a love song feels bronzed in warm resolve. Doiron's patient, lilting words defy the typical disposability inherent in the emotions of love songs, as they connect with a place not usually suitable for pop music--a mother's womb.