Love is Louder shows heart

Craig Cardiff meshes two different sounds in his latest album

Cardiff has been performing for 18 years.
Cardiff has been performing for 18 years.
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In his newest album, Love is Louder (Part 1 & 2), singer-songwriter Craig Cardiff brings us the best of both worlds.

Combining both fast-paced numbers with softer counterparts, Love is Louder is an alternative folk album that provides listeners with a gradient of produced- and acoustic-style versions of each song.

Starting with the more fast-paced half of the album, we are first introduced to the heavily-produced and buoyant version of each song. “Radio #9”, “Lenny Bruce Lee Pt.1”, “Boy Inside the Boat Pt.1” and “John Wilson Pt.1” are prime examples of this more energetic, up-tempo pace in the first half of the album.

On the second half, Cardiff slows the pace with acoustic “Part 2” versions of all the “Part 1” songs mentioned before. Coupled with exclusively acoustic tracks such as “Last Love Letter” and “Sister By The River”, the more subdued half of the album provides listeners with an “unwinding” feeling as they are pulled into the relaxing combination of guitar and Cardiff’s husky vocals.

The hushed tones in these songs provide a refreshing contrast to the carefully constructed riffs of songs like “Radio #9”.

Although the two halves of the album differ, it’s surprisingly cohesive in terms of the way the songs end up complementing each other — it’s as though each acoustic song has its own studio-produced counterpart.

The themes that Cardiff focuses on in his music are specific to everyday life. Whether it’s love, friendship or travelling, the album gives a new perspective to these otherwise ordinary experiences through expressive lyrics and bold harmonies.

In Love is Louder, Cardiff is using music not just as a series of sounds, but as a means of storytelling.

Some particular standout songs on this album are “Father Daughter Dance” — both Pt.1 and Pt.2. A meaningful yet simple melody, it tells us the story of the familial love between a father and daughter — this song is graceful and touches on themes that are easy to relate to.

With Cardiff’s soft vocals, and the delicate strumming of acoustic guitar, it’s hard not to fall in love with both Pt.1 and Pt.2 of this deeply tender arrangement.

A native of Waterloo, Craig Cardiff is a veteran in the Canadian music scene, especially in major cities across Ontario. Playing sold-out shows in Toronto, London and Kingston, Cardiff has made himself known through his relentless performances over the past 18 years.

Cardiff is an incredibly successful musician, having been nominated for a 2012 Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year: Solo for his song “Floods and Fires”, as well as being nominated for Contemporary Singer of the Year at the 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Love is Louder (Part 1 & 2) is a perfect addition to Cardiff’s career as it is overall a very aboveaverage album. Showing two diverse sides to his musicianship, Cardiff is truly a master of the alternative rock genre.

Craig Cardiff is performing at Clark Hall Pub on Jan. 31.

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