Album Review: Katie Tupper – Towards The End EP

[Arts & Crafts; 2022]

Saskatoon, Canada has given us the pigeon berries, female hockey players who won the gold in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, and the ethereal neo-jazz voice of Katie Tupper. “O Canada” is right. Tupper captivates in her five-track EP, Towards the End, co-produced by Connor Seidel (Charlotte Cardin, Matt Holubowski). “It’s about navigating young love. About how we adapt and change with new people,” Tupper says. Listening, you ride the warm rhythm, transported at times to 90s hip hop, at other moments it feels like listening to an Allyn Ferguson or Charles Fox theme song. 

She opens with “Live Inside”, where the dominant tap, tap, tap of the snare hooks until her gentle contralto “hey / hey / hey” vocal reminds us to be present. It progresses through a typical R&B structure joined by bubbly warbles in a soothing, warm bath. She lived inside like the rest of us in 2020, but that time alone taught her self-reliance and independence that you feel throughout each song. 

She continues her catharsis in “Danny” where the lyrics tell of the end of a love that was never meant to be. Her vocals cascade through the bridge in an anthem of liberation rather than sullen retreat. She continues this theme in “How Can I Get Your Love?” and shows us how to take melancholic lyrics but perform them in a way that is sanguine. She sings a duet with the strings of an acoustic guitar to begin “Cost of Loving You”; smooth and catchy, you have to sing along. 

Tupper gets intimate with us in “‘Misbehavin'” a song written for her partner. About the song, Tupper shares: “I realized when we first started dating that I had a lot of bad habits that I had built with previous partners and I was ready to break them for him. This song is super special to me because I think sonically it’s the closest to myself I’ve ever felt in a song. Connor Seidel and I spent a really long time perfecting the sound of this song and placing everything intentionally. I also love all the live horns that we got to have in this song – it felt luxurious to have a real musician play horns but it really does add so much to the song.”

Any of these tracks belong in a rom-com. Think Love Jones. She takes us back in time but with a youthfulness that is not trite. Although it didn’t make it in time for Valentine’s Day, give this a full listen while you wear your bunnyhug and make that romantic dinner with your love, even if that love is yourself.