Amelia Curran’s eighth album Watershed wears its maturity on the outside. Curran’s experience in song-writing and living are translated seamlessly into her music and lyrics in a sound that is, in equal parts, pleasant and solemn. The tone of Watershed is consistently humble and contemplative. Curran’s music and lyrics have an unmistakably real sensitivity, a down-to-Earth quality that sounds natural and organic from beginning to end. Even on tracks like “Gravity”, which features a more lively melody and instrumentation with some brass added for flavour, keeps its feet on the ground despite these distinguishing traits.

Watershed is a mature release, which is something special unto itself. The sound of having a life to look back on and to reflect on experiences is not easily tapped into. Curran’s lyrics are specific and deliberate with the purpose of telling the story of each track. Each song has a message and a story to traverse as the music carries the listener through an album that is relaxing and easy to listen to, but that offers enough substance for serious consideration. Curran sings throughout with conviction and the music frames the stories her lyrics tell to create a full and satisfying sound. There is enough variety between songs for them to be distinguishable after just a few listens and some do stand out more than others. “No More Quiet” notably pushes the scale of Watershed’s restrained and grounded sound with fantastic results.

While one of Watershed’s strengths does lie in its ability to be humble and reflective while keeping interest throughout, this is more of a challenge on some tracks than others. Curran’s hooks and melodies are soothing and comforting at their best, but not all of them reach the same level of evocative pleasure. The music supporting Curran’s voice doesn’t always sound fully realized as an independent entity; rather, it seems like an enjoyable background for Curran’s message.

Watershed is a pleasant album through and through. Curran balances feelings of joy and solemnity with songs that are both relaxing and engaging. Watershed’s maturity and humble sound will be both a source of delight and reflection for listeners and familiar.

Grade: B