Cassidy Mann, ‘If It’s Not Forever’ — 3.5/5 stars

‘Toban turntable

Image provided by Killbeat Music

Winnipeg-born singer-songwriter Cassidy Mann does a lot of reminiscing on her new EP, If It’s Not Forever. The songs here are preoccupied with the evocative moments from love affairs that stick with you long after the relationship ends.

The opening track “Tropical Sour Candy” is a sweet little Proustian remembrance brought on by Mann eating the same candy that she used to eat with an ex. “Election Night” brings us back to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, ruminating on all the changes in her life in the years that followed.

The lyrics are peppered with endearing details, like on the soft, touching standout track “Since I Met You,” where Mann asks her partner to tell her about a moment they shared on a subway when she cried in their arms.

Musically, too, there are lots of tasteful production aspects and unexpected instrumental moments. Co-produced with fellow Winnipegger Roman Clarke, formerly of the Middle Coast, it’s apparent these tracks were fiddled with for a long time. “Stop A Heart,” a pretty simple song on the surface, is constantly introducing and removing elements, with a plucky acoustic guitar and a skittering, hyperactive electronic beat its only constants. It ends with a cathartic instrumental passage where reverbed guitars and spectral synths fight for attention, and little parts like a trumpet or stacked vocals come in to play a quick melody before drifting off.

The instrumental palette is reminiscent of the trendy late ’90s or early 2000s adult alternative sound, with some tasteful contemporary flourishes. The song “Fine” is like Mann’s own version of Alanis Morrissette’s “Ironic,” with a big chorus of spurious similes. I am not sure how comparing grains of sand or coffee grounds to feeling fine about moving on from an ex really deepens the meaning of the word “fine” at all, but the effort to come up with so many fine things is appreciated.

Mann also has a keen sense of melody. “Tropical Sour Candy” has a big hook ready for radio, and the chorus of “Since I Met You” lifts beautifully before settling into a reserved, lower register.

This EP is sort of a new start for Cassidy Mann — her first release on a new label and the first taste of her “true voice.” As a start for a new sound,  If It’s Not Forever is certainly promising.

Cassidy Mann’s new EP, If It’s Not Forever, will be available April 1.