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  • 1. Against Myself
    2. King of Hearts
    3. Closer to the Flame
    4. Good Stuff, The
    5. Sacred Heart
    6. Remember the Song
    7. Hymn Number One
    8. You Feel It
    9. At the Drive In
    10. Guide Us Home
    11. Nothing But the Stars
    12. These Quiet Streets
    13. Deja Vu (Bonus Track)
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 465

  • Credits
    ProducerDanny Greenspoon
    EngineerJoel Kroeker; Michel Gionet; Carol Bergeron; Jeremy Darby; Dany Bedar

    Personnel: Joel Kroeker (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, 12-string guitar, strings, piano, toy piano, programming, background vocals); Craig McCaul, Kevin Breit (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Kevin Fox (cello); Denis Keldie (organ, Wurlitzer organ, chamberlin); Denis Keldie (organ, Wurlitzer organ); Mark Duggan (vibraphone, shaker, tambourine); Al Cross (drums); Ciceal Levy, Adrienne McKenzie, Kathryn Rose, Amoy Levy (background vocals).
    Audio Mixers: Daniel Cinelli; Danny Greenspoon.
    Recording information: Dancing Monk Productions, Vancouver, British Columbia,; Studio DB; The Canterbury Music Company, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
    Photographers: Joel Kroeker; Wayne A. Hoecherl.
    Arranger: Joel Kroeker.
    Following in a line that seems to fall somewhere between the roots rock of bands like Wilco and Blue Rodeo and singer/songwriters like Ron Sexsmith and Danny Michel, Canadian musician Joel Kroeker hits the ground running with the strong and tight "Against Myself" that has ample bite and verve. After this ear candy nugget, which also brings to mind Kathleen Edwards, the artist shifts gears with the mid-tempo but equally pleasing "King of Hearts" although this one isn't quite as straightforward; it still reeks of the smart, highbrow pop la XTC or Crowded House. With a delivery that slightly similar to Sexsmith's, Kroeker keeps the momentum going with the shuffling, groove-tinged title track that is criminally, sinfully rich in melody. At the same time, he can also show his softer, folksier side, as he does on the simpler, tender and thoughtful "The Good Stuff," that he pulls off without a trace of effort. A bit more of a stretch is the soulful, slower "Sacred Heart" that finds Kroeker sounding like a cross between Ricky Nelson and Tom Brosseau. However, this feel is a double-edged sword with the deliberate, Coldplay-like building of "Remember the Song," which takes a bit longer to warm up to. This format is revisited to a certain extent during "Nothing But the Stars" that is bombastic but fortunately not quite over-the-top. Perhaps the black sheep on the album has to be "Hymn Number One" which is aptly titled. Here the solemn approach is strong but not quite as hair-raising. Another gem is the downbeat and simplistic "At the Drive In" that demonstrates Kroeker's ability to turn a phrase in a very economical way. The same can be said for the gorgeous "These Quiet Streets." On the whole, Closer to the Flame is an extremely well-rounded and stellar effort. ~ Jason MacNeil

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