Review Summary: Excellent voice over a souped-up trip hop make a very inviting EP.
It seems it is becoming a fashion these days to have a somewhat deceiving cover for your for your album/EP/single, in this case, it is an EP by Boston singer Weather McNabb. Seeing the skeleton hand on the cover grabbing a cup of a takeaway coffee might in a way suggest some sort of guitar-laden heavy metal. Taking a listen to Cubicle Zombie, the fans of the genre might be disappointed - no heavy metal in sight.
What strong-voiced Weather McNabb (and there’s no indication that this is a pseudonym) and her producer/composer come up with is a more of souped-up, or to be more precise, modernised trip-hop, something like a more upbeat Portishead with no samples, but enough twists and turns in the music and arrangements of the five songs here to make this EP an engaging and very interesting listen.
But since we’re mentioning heavy, actually, there is an element of the heaviness of sorts present here, and it is in the lyrics where McNabb presents some of her ups and downs that include the fact that for quite a few years he had to juggle music with bookkeeping. I guess that is where the EP’s title comes from.
Still, it is Moore’s music and arrangements and McNabb’s voice, a cross between Portishead’s Beth Gibbons and Garbage’s Shirley Manson, that really shine here. The opener ‘Good Morning’ has what you can call a ‘standard’ beat, but the constant introduction of a clarinet and sudden piano-led change of tempo lift to the song. ‘Adapt’ foils McNabb’s voice in a string arrangement that accentuates it, and is in no way overbearing. ‘War Paint’ is the most upbeat tune here, that has bearings of a potential single, again garnered with an intriguing arrangement. Yet, ‘Time Machine’ brings back electronic rhythms and combines it with Cocteau Twins influenced guitars, while the closer, while ‘User Error…’ brings a riding upright bass, piano and a persistent rhythm that accentuate McNabb’s great voice.
It took McNabb six years to come up with this EP, not because of a finicky writing and recording process, but because of financial restrictions, she was in. Hopefully, the turnaround in fortunes is around the corner for her.