Artist Cecil Frena also known as Born Gold has a habit of undergoing a self-reinvention every fall with his music. 2011 brought the frantic exuberance of Bodysongs, in 2012 came the dark and twisted Little Sleepwalker, and as the leaves change in 2013, I Am An Exit has emerged into the world. This album is a push in a pop direction, with large hooks and soaring choruses.
The pop ambitions are made all the more interesting by the fact that the current Born Gold tour is taking place entirely in the intimate setting of fans’ living rooms. Contrast seems to be a theme even in the music itself, especially in opening song, “Abdomen,” which details being strangled by an abusive partner to the sound of deceptively cheery instrumentals.
Overall, I Am An Exit is inconsistent. There are times when it comes across as over-the-top; the scratchy instrumentation of “Strange Wind” drags and the chorus of “Hunger” becomes repetitive by the song’s end. Thankfully, there are incredible moments to balance it out: the almost perfect “Gasoline Bath,” the syncopated bass line of “No Reflections,” and the reflective closer “Butcher.”
I Am An Exit is more ambitious than anything Born Gold has released before, although not perfect, the album proves that Frena is a gem in Canada’s electronic music scene.