From the opening notes of "It's Only Fear," you know exactly what you're going to get from Alexi Murdoch's debut EP, simply entitled
Four Songs: simple acoustic (with some minor accompaniment) songs with oh-so-earnest lyrics of self-discovery. Exactly the kind of thing that I'm getting really burned out on--especially since I became a music reviewer and everybody that owns a guitar is releasing an album these days.
I'm sorry, but am I the only person that thinks that "Orange Sky" is getting way too overplayed on independent radio? Now, I don't mind the occasional long song (I am a fan of progressive rock, after all), but at least say something interesting or have some amazing music--either moody ambience or rocking solos. But "Orange Sky" takes over six minutes to get to its point, mostly because Murdoch continually repeats his one-line chorus over and over again--and that's not to mention how the verses all start with the same repetitious two lines. Unfortunately, in the end, all I get is out of it all is that he loves his siblings. Well, great, but he could have said that is one line in another song. An example of "show, don't tell," I guess.
"Blue Mind" is nice, especially that strumming and patting of the guitar rhythm. There is some banjo that peeks in occasionally, and Murdoch's Scottish lilt comes into play a little bit, even though I think he's trying to hide it most of the time. "Song for You" is probably the best song here. The genuineness that grates on the other tracks is delivered here with a smoothness that belies its origins. Also, the level of instrumentation increases throughout to make it more intense throughout its relatively short (for this record) running time. It's really a sweet song that I respond to emotionally.
Despite all the negativity, I do truly admire Murdoch for sticking to his guns of independence in the face of having loads of money flashed before his eyes in the form of studio record contracts. He has decided to stick with
CD Baby as his method of distribution for
Four Songs (although he has made it available on
Amazon, as well), and is steadily at work on a full-length LP that, I'm sure, will satisfy everyone who loves this album so much.
ALEXI MURDOCH: Four Songs
This highly praised beautiful debut collection of dark folk songs from newcomer Alexi Murdoch is CDBaby's most popular CD of 2003.
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