July 26, 2004

A Girl Called Eddy "A Girl Called Eddy"

Erin Moran--AKA A Girl Called Eddy--is stuck in the Seventies. Of course, it doesn't help that she shares a name with the actress who played Joni on Happy Days. Still, looking at the ingenious cover art--designed to resemble a faded LP record sleeve--complete with vinyl album outline wear on the cover and damaged corners--you realize that, in her own brilliant way, Moran is merely setting the aesthetic mood. A Girl Called Eddy--her proper debut album, following three years of frustrating silence since her Tears All Over Town debut EP, delivers much, much more than her auspicious yet quite promising debut.

A Girl Called Eddy is most definitely the creation of a heavily heavenly Seventies-minded mind, and no modern artist or band comes close to matching her pop vision. Unlike one or two other Seventies-minded big-band based bands who released records this year, A Girl Called Eddy's orchestral bombast is not compensation for weak lyrical content. Moran's words are painful, sad and symptomatic of a soul resigned to a lonely state, and she sings them with a strong, confident (if not a little bit depressed) voice, recalling the better moments of Karen Carpenter, "All By Myself"-era Eric Carmen and Olivia Newton-John. If you're of the age where you can remember that era, then you will certainly feel a tinge of nostalgia in Moran's muse. It would be hard not to think of those talents when you listen to "Tears All Over Town" or "Kathleen" or "Somebody Hurt You."

Moran and company (including Pulp's Richard Hawley) have mastered the subtle art of subtlety. Though she's accompanied by an orchestra, you're not overwhelmed by its presence. It's a stroke of brilliance that an artist with such a strong voice and backed by an orchestra can make a record that's completely bombastic yet never sounds anyting less than sedate. Only once--on the excellent "People Used To Dream About The Future"-- does A Girl Called Eddy lose this subtle feel, with Moran and her orchestra going all-out--and it sounds great! (I dare you to not to get washed away in those gorgeous, lush strings!) The only time the album breaks character is on the otherwise excellent "Life Thru The Same Lens," which bounces along with a jaunty, uptempo beat. Amongst the gloom of the rest of the record, it definitely feels out of place. The final song, "Golden," is a moving, powerful album closer that wouldn't sound out of place on George Harrison's masterpiece All Things Must Pass. This song is so over-the-top and powerful and moving, alone it's worth the price of admission.

While one shouldn't necessarily assume the atmosphere behind an artist's creation, it's quite obvious that A Girl Called Eddy is the end result of break-ups, rainy Thursday nights spent waiting for him to call, betrayals of the heart and weekends left feeling sad and lonely. While I wouldn't want Moran (or anyone) to suffer the fate of a lonely life, A Girl Called Eddy should serve as the balm for healing, hurting and wallowing in self-pity. This is a stunning debut album that bears repeated listens, and one that will leave you breathless and wanting more.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.agirlcallededdy.com
Label Website: http://www.anti.com

No comments: