Nashville has been leaving a lot to be desired lately, but in what can only be described as pure irony incarnate, one of its brightest new faces is a young woman from New York by the name of Brooke Moriber. In her brand new album Cry Like a Girl, she gets intimate with us lyrically in songs like the title track, “Time Takes It’s Time,” “Behind the Scenes” and “Here and Gone,” and proves herself to be quite adept as a singer when it comes to navigating complicated instrumental arrangements. She’s got a talent that you just can’t teach, and it’s definitely got my full attention at the moment.
Even in slow songs like “Behind the Scenes,” “99 Days of Rain,” “It Doesn’t Hurt” and the sublime “Shattered Glass,” Moriber is bringing the heat from behind the microphone and reminding us who the real boss is in this record. Her backing band definitely holds up their end in Cry Like a Girl, delivering one surreal soundscape after another in smooth numbers like “Long Long Time” and “Here and Gone,” and always giving the lion’s share of the spotlight over to the center-stage vocal track. The first half of the album is a little more experimental than the second, but none of the songs feel like obscure additions in the big picture.
“The Devil I Know” and the title track have a rock n’ roll muscularity to them that I would really like to hear Brooke Moriber explore more in upcoming releases. Most of the gems in this LP are ballads and bouts of pastoral poetry that are aligned with sedating strings that hypnotize us with their airy rhythm, but other songs like “The Last Goodbye” push Moriber’s vocal as far into virtuosity as possible without demanding too much from her developing skillset. She’s got powerhouse attributes simmering just beneath the surface here, and I’m eager to see where they take her sound in general.
“Steal the Thunder,” “Time Takes It’s Time” and “Here and Gone” feel, to me at least, like they were built specifically for the stage. Their flexible construction makes them good templates to be extended into freeform jams in a concert environment, and when provided a large enough crowd, they could feed off of the energy in a room really well. Moriber has got a whole world of options in front of her right now, and wherever she goes from here, she’d be wise to never shy away from her incredible depth as a vocalist.
She’s still got some evolving to do as a songwriter, but in terms of debut albums, what Brooke Moriber has turned in with Cry Like a Girl can be regarded as an accomplished, verifiable hit nevertheless. For every moment of jarring emotionality that it vaults in our direction lyrically, we find an incendiary instrumental part that is just as poignant to follow it up. There’s no shortage of engaging new music slated to see release this summer, but as far as the spring season for country artists goes, this young woman is among the brightest that I’ve heard thus far.
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