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Park Avenue Sobriety Test in Toronto Sun

Album cover "Joel Plaskett & The Park Avenue Sobriety Test" featuring Joel's legs in jeans lying on a bench with LPs underneath and polaroids above

Everyone’s past determines their present. Even Joel Plaskett. And especially now, apparently. As its enigmatically acronymic handle hints, the restlessly creative and critically beloved Nova Scotia singer-songwriter’s umpteenth album finds him sifting the ashes of his youth and coming to terms with impending middle age (he’ll be 40 in April). On the lyrical front, that translates to a slate of nostalgic narratives dealing with life and death, love and loneliness, success and sacrifice, and grasping the difference between being broke and being broken — all delivered with his usual nimble wordplay, grounded narratives and off-the-cuff spontaneity. On the musical side, it means going with the flow, playing it by ear and ticking all the boxes in his stylistic repertoire, from scrappy indie-rock to acoustic folk-blues to Celtic-tinged fare and Americana jams reminiscent of Dylan and The Band’s Basement Tapes. Put it to the test. You won’t be disappointed.

RATING: 4 (out of 5)

Read the full new music picks here.

by Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency