The Malvinas,
Love, Hope & Transportation
(3-Legged Dog, 2004)

The shared musical journey of the Malvinas (Beth Cahill, Gina Forsyth and Lisa Markley) continues in a positive direction on their second release, Love, Hope & Transportation. On this captivating and polished recording, they pay tribute to the places they've been, while heading ever more confidently toward their shared musical goals.

Co-produced by the Malvinas and Jack Williams, the album has a clean, spare sound that brings each voice into bright focus. Skilled instrumentalists all, Beth plays mando and tenor guitar, Gina plays fiddle and guitar and Lisa plays banjo and guitar. They are joined by special guests including Dirje Smith on cello, Martin McCall on percussion and Dr. Jim (of the Wisconsin Wagners) on bass and clave.

The album includes songs by all three members of the trio. Although each writer has her own distinct style, the tunes complement each other and work together well as a package. Some songs display a fun and quirky sense-of-humour, particularly "WestJet Ticket Counter" (Cahill), which reminds me of a cross between John Mellencamp and the Roches, and "Sweet and Sunny South" (Forsyth), where "we love our musicians and our fascist politicians."

I found myself most intrigued by the songs when I read the lyrics, which are often personal, vivid and inventive. "Gone are the days when we would die for love; only freaks and weirdos do that now" (Cahill), "I'm having senior moments, I've had them all my life" (Forsyth). On more distracted listenings, I found myself missing some of the nuances and yet still happily sailing away on simple, pretty melodies in "Eastward Bound" (Markley) and "Hope is a River" (Cahill).

Certain songs, for me, held the magic combination of both a strong musical hook and a compelling lyric ("St. Anthony" and "Everywhere I Am," both by Forsyth). I also appreciated the personal and amusing liner notes, which included fun information such as "This song began as a tribute to Monica Lewinsky."

The musicianship is excellent -- always tuneful, tasteful and spirited -- and the voices are likeable and unpretentious. The Malvinas are exactly the kind of company you'd want for a drive across the continent and Love, Hope & Transportation is an enjoyable ride all the way through.

- Rambles
written by Joy McKay
published 7 May 2005