Molly Brulé - Seasons
Seasons, the debut of Boston-based singer/songwriter Molly Brulé, is an impressive, beautiful four-song EP that makes me, frankly, desperate for a full length album.
Before I start, let me just stress that I’ll do my best to not make any cheesy puns about Brulé’s last name. That’d be childish.
Her voice is stunning; creamy, with a deliciously crispy surface…wait…fuck.
Seriously though, her voice is absolutely gorgeous, with a lovely rich center and a nearly indecipherable rasp at the beginning of phrases that serves the songs extremely well.
Seasons is pristinely recorded and mixed. The backing instruments, which variously include acoustic guitar, piano, drums, bass, strings, and ambient noise, are precise and well played. I looked for album credits and found none, but whoever accompanied Brulé on this album should be given a standing ovation, as should her recording, mixing, and mastering engineers.
Melodically, the lady knows her stuff. My favourite track is the fourth one, “So Long For Now.” A simple diatonic melody pairs with a I-IV chord progression, creating exquisite major sevenths that made me close my eyes with delight. The strings on this song also make it a standout. I call the melody “simple” but mean no derision; Brulé considers herself a “folk-pop-americana singer/songwriter” and the emphasis is definitely on pop. The album is immensely accessible, and its remarkable production and simple melodies reiterate that point.
Brulé doesn’t shy away from compound meter, which is rare in this genre of music and made track #1 “Ghost of You” grab my attention.
My only problem with this EP is the lack of lyrical originality. Brulé sings with a huge amount of emotion, and I could tell she means it when she says on her website “The lyrics [on Seasons] are really personal to me and it’s scary to let them go, but also freeing and exciting at the same time.” However, her concepts are basic, with predictable rhymes and derivative imagery that does the overall quality of the EP a huge disservice. In track #2 “In My Arms,” she says “heart” more times than my own heart actually beat while listening. It’s a shame, because the combination of her voice, her melodies, the wonderful arrangements, and the fabulous engineering puts this album many steps above its contemporaries, but her lyrics hold it back.
I would greatly enjoy a full-length album by Brulé which took her into deeper waters lyrically, and it wouldn’t even have to be about different song concepts; I firmly believe that the world can’t have enough love songs, as long as each of them has originally crafted lyrics. Brulé could sing a song about the most trite and meaningless shit and make it heart-wrenchingly pretty, but ultimately it’d still be uninspiring. A well placed bone-chilling metaphor or uniquely worded observation would make this album truly astounding.
The first two lines of “So Long For Now” implore you to “Look at the world you live in/ Look at what you have been given” and I would urge Brulé to do the same; the former, to take the time to craft some truly original lyrics the same quality as the rest of her music, and the latter, to compliment herself on an utterly fantastic first record, which sets her apart from many other artists as one with enormous talent and exciting potential.
1. Ghost of You
2. In My Arms
4. So Long For Now