Molly Burch, “Please Be Mine”

Molly Burch
Please Be Mine
CAPTURED TRACKS
6/10

Molly Burch might be releasing this debut album in 2017, but its songs are straight out of mid-’60s America. That’s largely a result of Burch’s upbringing—raised in LA by parents in the film industry, her childhood was filled with musicals from the heyday of Hollywood. It’s little surprise, then, that the ten songs on this debut album recall those inspirations and that era. Despite the heartbroken longing of Burch’s lyrics, there’s an overwhelming sense of old-time innocence in the fabric of her music, one which creates a happy escape route from Trump’s America into an alternative and rose-tinted reality.

Nevertheless, this album still reflects a time of personal turmoil—opener “Downhearted” is an assertion of defiance in the face of love gone wrong, apparently inspired, like a number of these songs, by a (temporary) split with guitarist Dailey Toliver. Elsewhere, the slightly jazzy swing of “Torn to Pieces” might evoke heartache and pain, but at the same time, the sadness is removed, confined to the past or the backrooms of long-forgotten clubs.

Despite this providing a welcome reprieve from the horrors of the modern day, it also becomes this album’s weakness. Because while the lilting, sultry melancholy that pervades the likes of “Please Forgive Me,” “Not Today,” and the title track—with its shimmering guitars and retro vibes—are lovely enough, there’s an emotional disconnect. Burch hits all the right notes, and her smoky voice is undeniably beautiful, but her recreation of the past is at the expense of feeling and emotion; the sound is there, but the heart and soul are lacking. As such, these songs are a musical mirage—shimmering with promise and beauty in the distance, offering to satisfy your thirst. But at some point, the illusion disappears, the trance wears off, and reality strikes once more.

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