With its dreamy, hazy repetitions, the album's opening track, "To Let Myself Go," sounds almost like a Portishead song remade as a folk tune, while the pronounced, plucked guitar lines on "Balloon Ranger" recall Ani DiFranco's early work. Despite the warmth of her sound, Brun's lyrics are rarely cheery: "Rubber & Soul" starts with the demeaning confession, "In my mind, I'm crawling on your floor/vomiting and defeated," while "Where Friend Rhymes With End" is a dejected look at the loss of a friendship.
Brun sometimes shakes that bleakness: She sassily documents her lover's favorite features on the bouncy "Song No. 6," a cheerful duet with Ron Sexsmith. Even beneath her quivering voice on "The Fight Song," her determination shines through, closing the downhearted journey of "A Temporary Dive" with a glimmer of hope.
-- Catherine P. Lewis