Five years is way too long to wait for any new album from any artist. Still, the husband-and-wife duo of Wild Strawberries have been productive outside of Canada since 2000's Twist, writing and singing trance-pop hits for German dance act ATB. It's a shame they can't make the same living on their home-grown releases as they do with a couple of singles overseas. Wild Strawberries are truly one of Canada's best-kept pop secrets and their seventh album Deformative Years is their strongest since 1995's Heroine. Producer-songwriter Ken Harrison's production has improved leaps and bounds in Deformative Years, sounding more polished than ever. The opener, "Waiting for the Future" is an absolutely thrilling atmospheric rock track, followed by the stellar single "No Way to Break My Heart," which was originally written for ATB. Wisely, two of their best ATB tracks are re-worked on this record, including "Break My Heart" and "I Don't Want to Stop" and both improve on the original versions. In fact, all of the songs here are consistently good and make you hope that it doesn't take another five years for the next batch. (Maple Music)
About Robert J. Ballantyne
Robert Ballantyne is Artsculture's Creative Director. Previously, he was a journalist at the CBC on a number of news programs including the fifth estate, Marketplace and The National. He also worked as a staff writer at the Toronto Star and other media outlets.