It’s not exactly easy to get a handle on what sort of artist Annette Ducharme wants to be. As a songwriter in the early ’90s, she penned hits for Cancon heavyweights like Lawrence Gowan and Tom Cochrane.
Later that decade, she transformed herself into an edgy alt-rocker—fire up the video for “Tortured” if you’re looking for something that would sound perfect sandwiched between Curve’s “Fait Accompli” and Garbage’s “Only Happy When It Rains” on that millennial-angst playlist. More recently, Ducharme has been belting out arias by Verdi and Donizetti with Opera Pro Cantanti.
Wreck•Age doesn’t really sound like any of the above. Rather, it’s an immaculately crafted collection of songs that tend to fall squarely into the adult-contemporary category.
There are occasional excursions elsewhere: “Murder” is an ill-advised attempt to rewrite Fiona Apple’s “Criminal”. “Apocalips”, meanwhile, proves conclusively that, as talented as she may be on the microphone, Ducharme has no business trying to rap, ever—although we can probably forgive her because the song’s chorus is deliciously clever: “I want to kiss your apocalips/I want to taste the end of the world/On the tip of your tongue.”
Overall, Wreck•Age is a solid effort that will leave you wondering what Ducharme has in store next. (Here’s hoping it’s not a hip-hop mix tape.)