Austin-based singer/songwriter Molly Burch has been making a name for herself recently, opening up for acts like Grizzly Bear and Courtney Barnett among many others. Burch’s sophomore release First Flower follows in the footsteps of her debut Please Be Mine with its laidback and intimate songs. While there are times that Burch’s vocals are pleasant to listen to throughout her albums, they seem to be far outweighed with her unique way of approaching lower notes. Many times, the way Burch chooses to sing sounds with lots of slurs and drawn out vowels but also sings clearly in other parts showing that the more distracting style is a stylistic choice.
In the first track “Candy” Burch asks, “Why do I care what you think?” setting the tone of the album as one of coming to terms with self-doubt. This is echoed throughout the album like when she croons “This ain’t easy no more/I hope I learn from my mistakes” on the track “Dangerous Places”. However, there are glimpses of happier moments in songs like “First Flower” where Burch professes her love for her boyfriend/band mate Dailey Toliver, singing out “You’re my man”. The sentiments of each song seem to waver between anxiety and optimism. “To the Boys” is one of the most pop song moments of the album where Burch slurs out an anthem about being her person.
Though gaining a lot of buzz, Burch’s sophomore outing leaves much to be desired. Burch seems to be content to write fairly mono-dynamic songs and it makes it difficult to tell one track from the next. Unfortunately, it is also hard to get into a song when Burch decides to sing lines that sound unnaturally slurred and drawn out. It might sound good in certain types of jazz singing but doesn’t serve her well on First Flower.