First Flower

Molly Burch First Flower Review For Northern Transmissions
First Flower

Our Rating

9.0/10

Molly Burch comes out on her new record like the folk crooner the genre never saw. Through Burch’s masterful run-through of pop and folk history she brings out a sound rich in tone and that creates tons of play in the writing and performance. Romantic and pointed, Burch creates such a lush feeling on this album that the obvious comparisons to Angel Olsen will truly feel like a discredit to her artistic merit by the time you wrap up the album.

As Burch lends a particularly pointed vocal delivery to her music, it quickly escapes the obvious comparisons she might draw to Angel Olsen’s My Woman. In this her slow-burning Western-folk opens into these rollicking choruses, full of energy that sweep you away on songs like “Candy.” “Wild” however has such a lively and free-spirited kick, that sees Burch getting so loose in her singing that it becomes a fun game to follow. It’s just as easily her mastery of harmonies that sweeps so many listeners away, even on darker tracks like “Dangerous Place.” Ultimately so much of the music on this record brings out a sense of pop from any corner that you’ll be hard-pressed to get bored.

Burch’s approach is so much more seductive on “First Flower” as she moves from praising her lover, to a glossy and serene chorus. It’s this seamless swap that sees her as a truly transcendental performer who can guide her songs anywhere on a whim. Just as the more generic country tones of “Next To Me” start to suggest a simpler writing approach, Burch takes it on a more playful and modern route to steer it somewhere fun. It’s this playfulness throughout the album that keeps so much tonally simple writing constantly engaging.

In a similar way “Good Behaviour” slowly transforms from its slow crawl to a wondrous mix of strings and harps that dance around Burch’s vocals. Her swirling arrangements and the way so much of the music seems to become a patchwork rather than a predictable layering lets it feel natural and alive. “Without You” lets Burch’s energy lead the rush as well, while it takes a more straight-pop direction in its writing. Despite this more predictable sensibility, there’s something in the dreamy production and Burch’s over-the-top emoting in the singing that makes it great.

“To The Boys” however sees her flowing like a fiery vocalist, elevating folk-pop into a dreamy new world while appealing to its many traditions. In this way, her unique additions serve to modernize it without hitting you over the head. The latter-half of the record flows through these ideas again with excited and spiritual excitement on “True Love” and a more ambient jam approach on “Nothing To Say,” both of which make a great appeal to the romanticism of older pop music. Though “Every Little Thing” starts as your typical sombre album closer, it becomes so magically entrancing and heartbreaking that you’d be wrong to label it as such.

Words by Owen Maxwell