The Austin, Texas-based Molly Burch delivers 10 delicately-crafted indie rock gems with her debut album: ‘Please Be Mine’. The record is replete with wistful lyricism and retro melodies which are reminiscent of the 1960s girl groups, such as The Shirelles, but it is also infused with a soupcon of Hope Sandoval-inspired shoegaze, this component being particularly manifest in Burch’s vocal style which betrays a hint of the Mazzy Star frontwoman’s hypnotic tones, except Burch’s delivery has more punch behind it.
Burch has drawn comparisons to compatriot Angel Olsen; the connection is apt as Burch, like Olsen, is another brilliant female artist who tantalisingly needles at the melancholy and forlorn in her songwriting. Even Burch’s voice holds similarities in the country music-style inflections and pitch changes she employs in her remarkable vocal range. But it is with Burch, and ‘Please Be Mine’, that I really feel that retro influence.
The influence of 1960s soul, R n B & Doo Wop is evident throughout the record. Tracks like ‘Please Forgive Me’ have a melody that immediately has me imagining The Ronettes or, for balance, The Temptations clicking their fingers to the rhythm, while swaying gently from side to side in a satisfying wave-like unison. The effect is that the entire record transports one through an incredibly pleasing sojourn to a desert island of introspection. Once ‘Loneliest Heart’ Kicks in you already have a sangria in hand and you’re swinging in a hammock while mouthing the words with your eyes closed. You can’t help but relax and feel nostalgic, but nostalgic for what, you never quite discover.
Burch occasionally dips a toe into the Dusty Springfield vocal pond – you know? The more pensive and sorrowful numbers in legend’s repertoire. The album is sandwiched between two perfect examples as both ‘Downhearted’ and ‘I Love You Still’ emulate the soulful panache of ‘The White Queen of Soul’, but instead accompanied with resonant electric guitar.
The title track, I think, is diamond in the crown of this sensational debut record. ‘Please Be Mine’ has a writhing and forlorn melody, verging on the torturous when Burch’s disconsolate vocals burst open with all the emotion of a crestfallen and unrequited love. It is a 5 minute piece of crystalline beauty from beginning to end and flawlessly prefaces the final track, the agonising ‘ I Love You Still’, leaving the listener in the final throes of catharsis, begging for part two of the lovers’ saga.
— Daniel Adshead —