Album Review: Molly Burch
First Flower (Captured Tracks)
Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., Oct. 5, 2018
Molly Burch launched her career by playing on a classic trope: unrequited love. On last year's debut Please Be Mine, the L.A. native's disciplined alto lent itself to the material, embodying the cycles of heartbreak through whispers and full-throated belts. The album let us into the songwriter's heart, but her follow-up, First Flower, offers a much rarer peek inside of her mind. Burch grapples with similarly universal themes of self-doubt and anxiety, and as with her first album, the ruminations are set over beachy, sepia-washed guitar rock. Gone, however, are the more muted vocal plays. She's ready to say it louder. On feminist anthem "To the Boys," Burch's jazz lilt is full-throated even in its quietest. As she lays out insecurities she's faced in a male-dominated music industry, the playful, winding guitar progressions mirror her punchy refrain: "Tell that to the boys." Strings punctuate the delicate shuffle of "Good Behavior" as Burch runs up and down her vocal range in detailing a quest to break out of a cycle of anxiety. The sun-kissed Laurel Canyon pop of "Dangerous Place" tackles the push and pull of creative collaboration, neatly summarizing Burch's modus operandi: wide-open sonic aesthetics with a pointed and poignant message behind it.