Aidan Knight was once the ubiquitous understudy of British Columbia’s music scene. The Victoria-based singer-songwriter toured, collaborated and worked with nearly every indie artist on the West Coast, from Dan Mangan to Hannah Georgas, from The Zolas to Said The Whale. When Knight quietly released his debut full-length, 2010’s elegantly simple Versicolour, it was evident he’d done his musical homework while singing harmonies and strumming along behind the scenes.
And his latest effort, Small Reveal, is even more pensive, creative, and ambitious than its predecessor. Seven-minute opener “Dream Team” swells from a low, emotive whisper to a tastefully aggressive outro—a dreamy, atmospheric soundscape that persists throughout the entire album. The 11 experimental-folk tracks on Small Reveal are littered with bouts of baroque pop: three are beautifully orchestrated instrumental numbers, while horns perfectly complement “The Master’s Call,” a melancholy piano and vocal ballad. Even the few songs that get off to a less promising start—a confusing time signature muddles the intro of “A Mirror,” and repeating dischords make “You Will See the Good in Everyone” less inviting—evolve into memorable, cathartic jams.
While this sophomore offering lacks the cheerful innocence of Versicolour, Knight’s songwriting is appealingly mysterious and unpredictable. Small Reveal is an album worthy of being unpacked properly; like the delicate sonic additions Knight made from the background in his formative years, its subtle layers of sound wait to be discovered by patient listeners.
Playlist picks “Dream Team,” “The Master’s Call,” “Creatures Great & Small,” “Margaret Downe”