Molly Burch’s first album, Please Be Mine, is a throwback – a heavily retro collection of lost loves, smoky vocals, and instrumentals that are deliberately familiar. If you like that sort of thing, then this is comfort music – it just asks to be listened to in a darkened room, preferably whilst wearing velvet and sipping at something suave and alcoholic. If, on the other hand, you can get enough of Old Hollywood very quickly, then the whole album might be a bit much.
Burch’s own interests in slow jazz and the classic glamour of Hollywood are in evidence here, and her music has a very clear feel to it. It’s a nostalgia trip to listen to, and I bet it’s stonkingly atmospheric live. Her voice shines in the slower songs, like Not Today and I Love You Still, while faster tracks like singles Wrong For You and Try make for very easy listening. But it’s as if the tempo is the main feature that differentiates one song from the next – it might almost as well be a single, forty-five-minute piece, and although the perspectives of separate tracks differ, emotionally they are pitched pretty much identically: wistfulness, yearning, love affairs gone wrong.
It’s an interesting choice, in the time of massive social and political change that has been the last couple of years, to release an album that is so straight down the line vintage. Even its lyrical focus on heartbreaks and unrequited longings seems to be pulled straight from the lounge music of the 1960s – there’s a fine line between timelessness and just being nonspecific enough to apply to anyone at any time, and I still can’t quite work out which side of the divide Please Be Mine falls on. But this is not an album trying to prove a point. It seems to be happy to be taken at face value.
Please Be Mine has an aesthetic to it that it is content to fulfil, and it seems at times to be loath to deviate from that. But then again, not all music needs to push boundaries or create new fusions. As comfort music for a maudlin moment, it might just hit you in such a way that it vibrates your ribcage.
Molly Burch’s debut album, Please Be Mine is out February 17 on Captured Tracks