Briana Marela – All Around Us
Seattle folkie Briana Marela has a keen interest in being a less experimental type of Bjork – someone who’s into expansive songscapes and floating, bouyant melodies, but who isn’t down with all that weirdness. Her songs are like the tides of the Pacific Ocean: they come in full force, crashing with salt and chill and wonder, and recede so that all you can hear is the ringing in your own ears (a ringing acted out admirably by the impressive amounts of reverb slathered on Marela’s vocals). They are interesting as a straightforward take on the aforementioned Icelandic singer-songwriter’s style, but they fall apart when you look to the lyrics. A lot of it can be charitably described as “insipid”. The second verse on opening track “Follow It” says “You could try your best at it, / And never get noticed / Without putting in the hours / Show them that you really want it / If fame looks the other way, doesn’t mean everything is lost / If you see another way, follow it wherever you are.” Thanks for that Briana, it’s always so fascinating when people put inspirational quotes they’ve mined from their diaries into songs. “Friend Tonight” features some lines that are best left for adolescent poetry scribbled into notebooks between chemistry notes: “I don’t belong caught in the crowd / I’m feeling lost and left out / Till your stare takes me aside / You can’t help but know why / I can almost feel your touch / There are still sparks between us.” When it comes to this sort of music, lyrics are the make-or-break point, and Marela unfortunately breaks it here. She makes decently average off-kilter folk-pop, though, so someone should partner up with her, if only to tell her a simple “yes or no” to her lyrical choices.