The third and finest album yet by Toronto artist Tamara Lindeman, recorded in France with Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas) and Robbie Lackritz (Feist), Loyalty crystallizes her lapidary songcraft into eleven emotionally charged vignettes and intimate portraits, redolent of fellow Canadians Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and David Wiffen, but utterly her own. A diaphanous eeriness and harmonic and rhythmic tension contributes to a pervading sense of clock-stopping bloom and smolder, recalling the spooky avant-soul of Terry Callier’s Occasional Rain. She’s an extraordinary singer and instrumentalist—on Loyalty she plays guitar, banjo, and keys—but Lindeman has always been a songwriter’s songwriter, recognized for her intricate verse, filled with double meanings, ambiguities, and complex metaphors. Though more moving than ever, her writing here is almost clinical in its unflinchingly self-examining gaze and deliberate delivery, evoking similarly idiosyncratic songsters from Linda Perhacs to Bill Callahan. Lyrically, Loyalty inverts the language of confession, of regret, of our most private and muddled mental feelings, by externalizing those anxieties through exquisite observation of the things and people we accumulate, the modest meanings accreted during our most ostensibly mundane domestic moments.