Molly Parden – Rosemary
Younger writers may praise & anticipate this genre of music but the sublime tendencies, laid-back approach as performed by Georgia’s Molly Parden while fairly good – is not exciting music.
“Feel Alive Again,” is lovely with good instrumentation but it’s after the drummer starts to lay down crisp beats that it grips an ear. Parden sings a hair above a whisper but I like Parden’s voice. It just needs to elevate a little, raise the temperature.
Molly’s 6-cut EP Rosemary (drops Nov 13 – Tone Tree Music) is definitely for selective audiences. While the PR mentions heart-wrenching songs, many are. But the folk, roots’ retro-soul tag, not so much. It’s like the young child who sat near me years ago in a diner who ordered the chicken noodle soup. The waitress asked him “how’s that soup, young man?” And without raising his head from his spoon as he slurped the broth said, “I haven’t found any chicken yet.”
This collection has lots of tasty noodles but little chicken. This is not Americana, rootsy, or even folk music. While it’s difficult to understand Parden’s words at times because of the style, not her articulation — she does communicate.
“Who Are We Kiddin’” itself isn’t bad, not by a long shot. Molly writes some potentially good melodies, but they’re buried in a style that is essentially a sublime showcase. This song displays some Van Morrison inspired horns. More of that would’ve lent an air of more compelling music. This is a good song. Needs a better arrangement to outline Molly Parden’s potential. A good producer with progressive ideas could help.
Remaining with a taste of Van’s horn style “I Know You Can,” there is much more clarity in Parden’s vocal about crippling heartache at the end of a relationship. Her voice conveys effectively emotional angst. The instrumentation has a formality to it. Once the drums snap-in with their beat Parden shines even brighter.
So, while the EP is primarily a low-fi affair with strings & snippets of jazzy horns Molly needs to find a niche that suits her voice more sophisticatedly. Not the deeply saturated style she’s chosen. The ethereal approach may work (“These Are the Times”) but that will only limit her reach for a wider audience.
Molly’s future may be in a more jazz-oriented vocal realm that “These Are the Times” suggests. OK, she can delve into exotica, middle-of-the-road, or cocktail jazz, (originals or covers) but her voice would be more perfect for that genre. If the songs were more provocative (“Cry Me a River”), ambitious with the brittle net of notes she seems to be comfortable with Ms. Parden could test it — by doing songs live like “Black Coffee,” or Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain” & see how it’s received.
Other than that, Molly has lots of vocalizing heart – she needs some production. But keep those horns. Keep those horns.
The 22-minute EP was produced by Juan Solorzano & Zachary Dyke – available at Soundcloud & http://www.mollyparden.com/