A fine, powerful return from the American songwriter...
'First Flower'

Molly Burch blossoms on sophomore effort 'First Flower', just a year on from her critically acclaimed debut, 'Please Be Mine'.

Battling abusive relationships and anxious demons throughout, the album culminates in the stunning line "I’ve worn my body down, I’m done..." on album-closer, ‘Every Little Thing’, while Burch paints vivid images of hopelessness and defeat throughout 'First Flower'. ‘Candy’ appears as a break-up argument following a toxic relationship whilst ‘Without You’ sees Burch admit her over- reliance on a lover, “I don’t know what I’d do without you”. Yet even with the dark undercurrents, Burch is euphoric in delivery, particularly in the latter where Latin American ballroom sounds filter through, her vocal strong and purposeful.

Despite moments of negativity, 'First Flower' is Burch’s declaration of independence that sees her determined to move on from any mistakes, which she certainly achieves. ‘Wild’ sees her compliment a crazy gal pal, praising her friend’s unique nature, whilst album-highlight, ‘To The Boys’ has a tango tone with Burch challenging toxic masculinity, accepting her imperfections and becoming confident in her own skin.

South American sounds merged with occasional Americana cuts, 'First Flower' sees Burch find fresh ground with familiar tropes as she builds on the sonic foundations set out on 'Please Be Mine' to find an increasingly upbeat, ballroom-dance-inspired sound that constantly feels like the sun is shining. And it is this upbeat feel that shows she’s moving on from the negativity in her life, despite what some of the lyrics may suggest. Molly Burch’s debut saw her emerge as one of the finest songwriters around, and the follow up only cements that.

8/10

Words: Johnny Rogerson

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