Molly Burch
First Flower


3.7
great

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
December 7th, 2018 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A glass case of emotion.

Although album covers rarely matter, First Flower hits the nail on the head. Molly Burch’s sophomore record is an introspective space, represented by that soul-penetrating gaze that Burch shoots the camera person on what feels like an iconic photograph. There’s an entire spectrum of emotion behind those eyes; it feels like she could be conveying pain and loneliness, or awe-induced admiration. First Flower is appropriately wide-ranged in its topical scope – Burch still writes about the kind of romance that enveloped her debut, Please Be Mine, but also focuses her attention inward towards depression and anxiety. It makes for an interesting development in her lyrics as well, marking a shift from relational platitudes to thoughts and emotions more private in nature.

Molly has the ideal voice to cover that range, often beginning with a smoky, lower register before limberly climbing the ladder to high-pitched vibrato, as she does on the melancholic ‘Wild.’ In that instance, her quivering vocals could not have been better placed, successfully depicting a woman who laments introversion and longs for more of a spontaneous approach to life (“Wishful thinking's got me blinded…it's in my nature to be guarded / I wish I was a wilder soul”). Molly frequently does this; she takes a common situation and focuses on what’s happening behind the scene instead – for instance the thoughts that race through her mind as she struggles (and fails) to access enough courage to take the leap – whatever that risk may be. On a song like ‘Wild’, it’s easy to relate to those feelings and get inside of her headspace. It’s what makes First Flower feel so personal.

Burch drives her emotions home through poignant repetition. It’s a technique that makes it easy to lose interest in her narrative, as she tends not to vary the verses/choruses in favor of allowing each recurrence to swell with more and more emotion, emboldening the impact each time. In certain moments it is absolutely stunning – such as when she repeats “You are my man” over spacey, wistful guitar work on the album’s title cut. However, on tracks that are less gripping, it facilitates that dreaded slide into background space, where the consumer is listening but not cognitively present. While it would be ill-advised to label this as a weakness outright, she could serve to benefit her craft by injecting additional non-vocal accents capable of alleviating the burden that is currently placed squarely on her vocals.

First Flower feels like a reclusive album emotionally, lyrically, and musically – but it’s one that actively strives to break through. It feels like being trapped inside your own thoughts, battling with the kinds of choices that incrementally alter your life on a daily basis. Burch weighs these decisions – whether they’re romantically inclined or on a broader scale – and expresses that struggle through a series of mesmerizing vocal melodies. There is certainly room for Molly to grow and introduce more diverse elements to her music, but for now First Flower is the musical equivalent of that longing gaze on the cover; it’s an expression of both hope and turmoil – but more than anything else, a desire to shed precaution, open up, and become that “wilder soul” that she so endearingly references. First Flower is an album that looks out the window and longs for that kind of freedom.




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user ratings (12)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
December 7th 2018


29220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

I'm hoping you all appreciate that Anchorman reference.

Why can't I stop writing reviews lately? I need another hobby.

Digging: James Blake - Assume Form

FreddieDelaney31
December 7th 2018


5181 Comments


Bark twice if you're in Milwaukee

Digging: Hodera - First Things First

budgie
December 7th 2018


6711 Comments


hayy it got a review

budgie
December 7th 2018


6711 Comments


review her first album, i think it's better by a fair bit, though this one is awesome

Atari
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2018


24088 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

nice review, nice album





Digging: Japandroids - Celebration Rock

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2018


24306 Comments


I saw this summary and immediately thought of anchorman

iglu
December 7th 2018


1228 Comments


album cover looks nice, might give it a spin

luci
December 7th 2018


10559 Comments


5/6 of the reviews in the staff box are sowing

budgie
December 7th 2018


6711 Comments


"without you" makes me think of some marilyn manson song. great track here

joshieboy
December 8th 2018


6168 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Will check this, liked the song at the bottom of the review

Digging: Grandview - Everything Between Paint and a Wall

Darius the Great
December 8th 2018


19492 Comments


budgie nutted

chug73
December 8th 2018


3749 Comments


oof this is lovely

chug73
December 8th 2018


3749 Comments


There is something kind of retro about this. Can't place it.

Hawks
December 10th 2018


66815 Comments


Def gonna jam this.

Digging: Jute Gyte - Senescence

SowingSeason
Moderator
December 10th 2018


29220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

this is one of those albums where certain songs I love and others just fall by the wayside

definitely enjoyable overall though

luci
December 10th 2018


10559 Comments


is this better or worse than that anna burch record from january

budgie
December 10th 2018


6711 Comments


anna burch doesn't come close imo
but seriously check molly burch's debut

budgie
December 11th 2018


6711 Comments


"without you" rules sooooo hard!

SowingSeason
Moderator
December 11th 2018


29220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

yeah that's another one of my favorites off this, probably second to the one I embedded

mvdu
December 16th 2018


763 Comments


I hear a little Patsy Cline in her. Someone else heard Marilyn Manson. So she is quite the artist. Really liking what I heard.



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