Brooke Moriber’s “Cry Like a Girl”

Glowing country rhythm comes crashing through the speakers as we start our adventure into Brooke Moriber’s Cry Like a Girl and it’s stunner of a title track. The guitars are big, bold and full of vitality, but it’s the vocal melody from Moriber, which is lightly seasoned with freewheeling lyrical content, that garners most of our attention here. A stoic whisper ushers us from this opening tune into the plaintive “Steal the Thunder,” and all at once, a cathartic electric riff awakens our senses and invites us to sway to the delicate beats. It makes for an interesting bridge to “The Last Goodbye,” the record’s starring single, which demonstrates the awesome range that Moriber has as a singer, and we soon discover that the fun is only getting started as we continue through the tracks.

YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6r5hU0LQ-Y

“The Devil I Know” has a sporty little groove that is awash with texture courtesy of a searing bassline, but it’s nowhere near the evocative spellbinder than “Behind the Scenes” is. In this song, and the other slow-churning ballads on Cry Like a Girl, we can appreciate just how refined a vocal Moriber is in possession of. The patient execution, along with the glorious master mix, allows for us to hear all of the subtle intricacies in her voice, and while she’s utilizing a conservative approach both here as well as in the rollicking “99 Days of Rain” and the alternative country jam “Here and Gone,” it doesn’t undercut her organic tonality in the slightest.

“Here and Gone” and “It Doesn’t Hurt” make for a provocative one-two punch in the second act of Cry Like a Girl, and I think that they’re best enjoyed when played back to back as they’re presented to us in this arrangement of the songs. I hear a lot of Jewel in her vocal in the latter track, while the former tempts us with its sensuous shift in tempo. “Time Takes It’s Time” seemed rather out of place when I listened to this LP for the first time, but upon closer inspection it’s actually become one of my favorite songs on the record. It’s the poppiest piece here, and though it’s a departure from the main style that we hear on Cry Like a Girl (as well as what Moriber’s past recordings have had to offer), it has more vivacious energy and unforced charisma than anything else in this tracklist does.

Moriber embraces her surreal side in “Long Long Time” and layers a lot of different instrumental elements together in the four minutes and change that it lasts. With the haunting piano melodies of “Shattered Glass,” Cry Like a Girl comes to a pleasing conclusion, and leaves us with as many questions as it does answers about the woman behind its wonderment. There’s a lot to take in here, and a broadly conceptual stylization that is difficult for me to categorize as straight country, folk or pop, but overall I think that Brooke Moriber’s first LP is a worthwhile acquisition for listeners who have an ear for acoustic harmonies and self-aware lyricism.

Michael Rand

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