Undeniably advanced songwriting by the seaside
Charlie Sinclair
15:44 5th December 2018

“Why do I care what you think, you’re not my father?” Questions Austin based singer-songwriter Molly Burch during opening song ‘Candy’. Within one short stanza she has perfectly set the tone for the evening, the small, but appreciative, crowd at Brighton’s Komedia are gearing up for a set of dream pop drenched, quirky tunes about heartbreak.

Hailing from a small town outside of the live music capital of America, Molly Burch has been chipping away at the alternative singer-songwriter scene Stateside for some time now. With two albums under her belt - the wildly inventive and beautifully crafted Please Be Mine and it’s unfortunately unimaginative follow up First Flower - the singer is no stranger to a live performance. However, it would seem her extensive touring and wide reaching admiration have led to an incredibly tight backing band, but not much in the way of entertainment. At first she appears shyly charming and her hazy eyed, head in the clouds nature is at it’s least captivating and it’s best genuinely delightful, but this manor wears thin after fifteen minutes or so. 

Her songwriting is undeniably advanced and I can’t stress enough how focussed and musically gifted both her and her band appear to be. There are moments of reverb drenched, theoretically exceptional and delicately finger picked guitars layered with mindfully spacious drumming over Molly’s beautiful vocal, yet you can’t help feeling like you’ve heard it all before. Her records unashamedly draw huge influence from 60s doo-wop song writing and her arrangements don’t do much in the way of separating her from being more than just a revival artist. There are some great standout tracks, but the rest comes across simply as a rehash of those more special moments. She struggles to keep the room on her side bar a gaggle of hard core fans at the front and I find myself personally struggling to differentiate from song to song. 

It’s hard to be particularly critical of an artist who at their core is fulfilling their mission goal. Molly Burch isn’t set to be one of the major players within the music industry, however I don’t think she particularly wants to be. Her songs are, for the most part, wonderfully constructed, softly delivered, dreamy works of a love sick twenty something year old - and it works. It might not be the most riveting live set and perhaps she lacks a true sense a of personal sonic identity, but there’s a lot to be said for her sweet lyrics and honesty. As the set draws to a close she plays her most well known track ‘Please Be Mine’ and it’s here that we finally see the sense of purpose that the majority of the set has lacked. She seems palpably emotional in her delivery and for the first time this evening it appears stylistically different from the rest of her work, dreamy enough to fit in but sincere enough to capture your imagination. 

I leave Komedia with a slight sense of disappointment. I wanted to be made emotional, I was craving a sense of beautiful bewilderment at her show, but unfortunately I left realising that Molly Burch has a long way to come in terms of performance and musical diversity. I would still highly recommend her debut album and perhaps given some time she will come back with a third release that really hits the spot it’s looking for. For now though she’s undeniably talented and obviously lyrically gifted, but it’s just not quite as progressive as her singer-songwriter peers. 

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Photo: Max Jenkins/Press