Ellen Doty’s debut album Gold is jazz in the most classic sense. Unashamed and frank, Doty embraces a sound that brushes aside modern studio gimmicks.
When it works, Gold stands out as a homegrown and warmhearted listen meant for easy summer days. When it doesn’t, the lyricism falls flat, forcing songs to drag out and overstay their welcome.
“Perfect Day,” with it’s light beat and engaging lyrics, works well as an introduction to Doty’s candid musicality. This theme continues throughout the album — “I Think I’m in Love” is enjoyable, if contrived, while the album’s titular song, “Gold,” is the pinnacle of the album’s smooth rhythms and sliding vocals.
The upbeat tunes stand out from the slow crooning that dominates the album. “Diamond from Cole” — a tribute to Nat King Cole — is easily one of Gold’s best songs. It’s an elegant mix of big brass and bouncing vocals.
Her slower tracks, “Restless Heart” and “Wait for Your Call,” come up short in comparison to her more cheery tunes. The absence of any obvious post-production tricks means the tracks rely on lyricism and musical ability to stay relevant. And while the album is enjoyable, Doty isn’t quite there yet.
For the most part, Gold comes across as delightfully Canadian. Doty’s work might not have the quality of a more polished approach, but it’s handmade and charming.