‘Open To Chance’ by Itasca (Album)
Kayla Cohen has formed a band to help her bring this collection of veiled and mysteriously charming songs to life
The latest release by Itasca, aka Kayla Cohen, is the first to feature a full band. Comprising of Dave McPeters (steel pedal), Coleman Guyon (drums), and Julia Nowak (bass/vocals). Open To Chance is somewhat of a concept album, as it is heavily influenced by the 1959 poem Kore by Robert Creeley in which a woman and goat-men dance to flutes – an image referred to literally throughout the album with the use of the wind instrument itself.
The poem ends: “O love/where are you/leading/me now?” In the song No Consequences, Cohen asks her own desperate question: “Who is this blind God who walks with no regrets?” The album’s title offers a clear indication to what the songs are about: melancholy folk-stories of chance meetings with mysterious people, drowsy and dehydrated as day turns to night. Daylight Under My Wing is a prime example of Cohen’s floaty approach, upon which her agile and humble fingerstyle guitar work accompany her graceful modal progressions. Angel takes Cohen’s own creations and blends them with ones featured in Creeley’s poem.
The album is a folk masterpiece combining recreating paganist creatures and stories in the singer’s own words. Cohen takes us with her on this weary journey that is often dark; championing the unknown.
Verdict: Sometimes dark, always nimble. Truly poetic.