Madisyn Whajne (pronounced Wayne) is a member of the Whitefish River First Nation (Manitoulin District of Ontario) and her debut album ‘Save Our Hearts’ is a scintillating slice of pop sunshine – jangling summery indie pop that fizzes and sparkles with a joie de vivre that belies her difficult childhood. Taken from her parents as a toddler during the infamous Sixties Scoop, in which the Canadian government forcibly rehoused tens of thousands of native children, Whajne grew up without knowing her real name, to say nothing of her heritage.
This record is really a personal journey through a time of darkness, heartache and finding myself again. Whether the songs came out fun and playful, dark and edgy, or sad, there is a common theme that runs throughout the record. At a time when I had lost almost all faith, there was a glimmer of hope and the record embodies that. Ultimately, it took me out of the darkness and into the light. My own light.
‘Save Our Hearts’ is therefore an album of hope and positivity – eleven tracks that spark and bubble with a gentle intensity and a sense of purpose. At its very heart, it is filled with unfiltered romanticism, a beacon of survival and empowerment. The pop sensibilities, melodies and vibe recall bands like The Primitives, Alvvays, Fazerdaze and fellow Canadians Moscow Apartment. This is pure pop of the most endearing kind.
Opening track ‘Summer Love’ has a gentle melancholy drifting across the shards of guitars and driving rhythm section with Whajne’s soft and laconic vocals. The accompanying video is summery and carefree:
‘Killing Desire’ is a perfect pop song with its insistent drive and steady repeating riff creating a spine throughout the song. There is a sixties Ronettes style with swing – think of the melodies of The Jesus and Mary Chain married to The Go-Gos. Whajne says of the track:
Killing Desire is a punk song at heart and it turned into a fierce but dreamy indie pop song about finding hope when all seemed lost. In between the lines, there is lust and desire, a love and a loss; pulling someone in closer but ultimately walking away. I am inspired by bands like the Go-Go’s and The Vaccines. But, like most songs, this ultimately took on a life of its own. The video was shot in the back alleys of Toronto and at E5 studios in the west end of the city.
It’s the perfect pop package:
‘One Shot’ is grittier with fuzzy guitars and an inherent sense of humour:
If you can’t undress me Using just your eyes Your eyes
You got one shot
Throw it down the range!
You got one shot
Whajne’s vocals are exquisite – gentle and emotive. ‘Sweet Talk’ has layered harmonies and backing singing that creates a euphoric build up and an anthemic edge:
‘Dagger’ is another pure pop blast with a wistful air and darker themes:
And I stand
Bitter as a bee sting
Wants me just for one thing
This is matched by a harder edge to the instrumentation – pounding and driving, angry and direct:
‘Save Our Hearts’ is ultimately an exciting and vibrant album: the purest of pure indie pop with anthemic stature and an enthralling veracity. You can get the album through the normal streaming site or directly from the artist through the link below:
Feature Photograph: Jen Squires