Wednesday 20 February 2013

Billie Myers - Tea & Sympathy

Album review by Robert Nichol

It may seem like an odd comparison to some, but the first artist that comes to mind when listening to Billie Myers' new album is Alanis Morrisette. Although the sound is completely different (Morissette is from the school of rock while Myers has a more roots/blues/country trajectory) both are female singer-songwriters with a compelling habit of working through their personal difficulties in the form of excellent albums. 'Tea & Sympathy' is Myers' first LP since a battle with depression and a split with record label Universal.

If the name is familiar, it's from her huge 1998 hit 'Kiss The Rain', but the songs on this record are a completely different animal. Lead single 'Wonderful', while displaying many mainstream pop tropes (layered vocal in an infectious chorus, major chords, upbeat) is actually strong work from a singer-songwriter with an acoustic bent. A reminder that genre pigeonholing can be as limiting as it is helpful. The real high points of the album however are the more personal tracks.

Moodier and more dramatic, these tracks feel like the real Billie Myers, completely stripped of major label direction. 'Anonymous' is almost theatrical in its mix of synth sounds, with lyrics about fading into the background of the music industry. This is striking stuff. This approach stands the rest of the album in good stead, strongest when working through some of the tougher emotions. It's an LP that deserves to be heard by the right people, and if there’s any justice it will see Myers re-assert herself into the music industry.

Billie Myers' website

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