On Russian Dolls, Montreal’s Mark Berube sounds as though he is rewriting the future of his career and stepping away from playing a one-man show. While his simpler acoustic sounds vacillate between chamber folk and orchestral pop, Berube’s new work introduces a dreamy Afro-synth technique layered with dated vocal elements. South African pop influences from as far back as the ‘80s, influenced by a five-year stint in Swazliland and his parents’ interest in folk, has allowed him to develop an intimate arrangement of synthetic rhythms through the use of cellos, organs and strong storytelling. The poetic nature of Russian Dolls is carried through harmonic waves, into grounding piano notes and onto fulfilling duets, evolving into warm sonic vibes that feel like a not-too-far-away memory.

By Callie Modeland

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