Writer by Nick Garrastegui
Corbin Giroux’s third solo effort “Docile” is already a contender for album of the year. This is the Ontario-based singer’s first full band solo project and he has crafted an absolute masterpiece.
The album opens with “Run” and instantly pulls you in with a buildup of drums and acoustic guitars before Giroux’s vocals kick in. What struck me the most on my first listen was how gorgeous the track was sonically.
The instruments are crisp and flow in their own space, yet come together beautifully. Giroux’s soft, breathy vocals complement the instrumentals beautifully and immediately leave you wanting more.
Track two, “Torn” (featuring Jordan Black of Like Pacific), almost feels like a lullaby. The lines in the first verse, “Sweep me up / Off my feet / Nothing lasts forever / Tell me nothing will scare me / Anymore” immediately stood out on my first listen.
The subtle change of the melody on these lines before it changes to the refrain of “I must have left the light on / This year we have it all wrong” piques the listener’s ear and makes for a smooth transition.
“Middle Earth” appears to be about moving on and knowing you have to, yet feeling “Weak beyond repair” at the same time. It manages to capture both moods beautifully, conveying the urgency of leaving within the first verse while still leaving the listener with pangs of sadness with lines such as “I always forget that I’ll never see my home.”
“Humility” picks up the pace a bit and is one of the faster songs on the record. While the lyrical content may seem a bit dark, it comes across tinged with hope. The lines “I’ve accepted / That I can’t be / The person that some / Want me to be” come across as though the narrator is on his way to freeing himself from expectations, even if he says he’ll “always push everything away.”
Track five, “Rope,” sees another feature; this time from Michael Roe (Daisyhead, No Dancing). The song sees both vocalists repeat the same verse, but it’s the chorus that truly stood out to me. The words “I’ve been dying to close my eyes / I am paranoid inside / I was never good at this I swear / I’ll make it work everywhere” are so simple but so breathtaking when surrounded by the airy instrumentals that accompany it.
“Ninth Roll” starts out with a simplistic picked acoustic guitar before the full band comes soaring in. This track in particular truly showcases Giroux’s vocal ability.
His transition from his standard singing to crisp high notes is effortless and is a true testament to his artistry.
“Awake, But Dreaming” sees the narrator explore the walls he’s built around himself that no one else knows about. My favorite line of the chorus is “I’ll sell my soul for some control,” it’s another line that stood out on my first listen and I can see it being a universal standout line to listeners.
“Graceful” is the most subdued track on the record. It’s a quiet, pensive track and features minimal instrumentals. It allows the listener to fully soak in the lyrics, and leaves you hanging on every word.
“Just Not Used to This” speeds things back up for the final stretch of the album. Its lyrics continue the theme found on much of this album, a theme of moving along and moving away.
The song that follows, “A Beautiful Place,” seems to reference the one place that is unaffected by things changing. The line “This here remains / A beautiful place / Where our thoughts can grow” emanates a warmth that the listener can imagine comes from that “beautiful place.”
The album reaches its close with the track “Whole.” It’s one of the most ferocious tracks on the album, featuring Corbin screaming out the final line of “I’m getting bored now.” The lyrics come across as though they’re a stream of consciousness, with the narrator talking frankly to the listener. It leaves the listener with a feeling of contentment as this 41 minute musical journey concludes.
“Docile” has all the markers of a perfect album. Its instrumentals are beautiful and you find yourself getting lost in them.
You’ll find yourself hanging on every word and falling in love with Corbin Giroux’s voice more and more as the record goes on. It’s the perfect fall album and one that I can picture myself getting lost in again and again.