Review Summary: This quirky, edgy & uncompromising talent has nothing to be sorry for.
It’s become cliché to conclude that certain artists are searching for their true sound, but as with most clichés, it’s only the extent which is up for conjecture. On her debut EP ‘Daughter in the Choir’, one just had to determine that Tennessee native Meg Myers was exploring where she best fit into the musical landscape. How else could you explain the dog’s breakfast that the seven tracks brought to the table? Vocally, Myers went from gentle crooning to banshee screams and spoken word, while the musical backing included radio-friendly pop, clubby house and grungy rock! Follow-up EP ‘Make A Shadow’ streamlined her style with greater use of guitar, but the diversity on offer still fell somewhere between messily unfocused and outrageously impressive. For these reasons, debut LP ‘Sorry’ was always going to be a fascinating listen.
It doesn’t take long for proclamations of “here we go again” to be heard, since opening track ‘Motel’ contains a clip of an interview that folk/country legend Townes Van Zandt gave concerning the topic of sadness! For the most part, however, Myers and her producer/songwriter cohort Andrew “Doctor Rosen” Rosen do (relatively speaking) further refine the twenty-eight year old’s schizophrenic nature. Comparisons to this quirky and edgy musician are difficult to make, but a cross between Fiona Apple and Alanis Morrissette is possibly the most apt description. Like both of those singers, Myers is at her best when performing a dark and brutally honest brand of pop-rock that also retains accessibility. Here, the title track and ‘Desire’ stand out in that category, the former making an apology sound anthemic, while the latter – which comes complete with a guitar solo - turns seduction downright menacing with lines such as “I wanna skin you with my tongue”.
While recent single ‘Lemon Eyes’ and EP holdover ‘Make a Shadow’ follow the template of the aforementioned highlights, the back half of ‘Sorry’ is a decidedly down-tempo affair with relatively sparse instrumentation. This is both a blessing and a curse, since it places further prominence on Myers’ soul-baring – if occasionally melodramatic - lyrics, but also results in some redundancy and a lack of rhythmical variety. As a group, the exercise in self-loathing that is ‘I Really Want You to Hate Me’, the lovelorn ‘Parade’, the soothing acoustics of ‘The Morning After’ and closer ‘Feather’, ultimately stall momentum. Thankfully, Myers’ impressive vocal range anchors the pieces individually, channelling the subtleties of PJ Harvey one moment and then bellowing like Florence Welch the next.
When all is said and done, ‘Sorry’ is an album that is rather tricky to rate. It’s as difficult to ignore the talent and potential that is apparent, as it is to disregard that not everything comes together in cohesive fashion. Yet, even when it’s not wholly successful, it’s almost always captivating. The promising songwriting is above-average for a debut long-player, while the mix of organic and electronic instrumentation is spot on for the most part. Most gratifying is the manner in which various guitar techniques allow the songs to retain an edge, instead of having them descend into the well-worn and over-crowded synth-pop scene. One thing is for certain; there’s nothing to be “sorry” for on this authentic, uncompromising and distinctive forty-one minutes worth that contains barely any filler. If anything, Myers is still searching for her true sound.
Recommended Tracks: Desire, Sorry, Motel & Lemon Eyes.