Manda Mosher:
Everything You Need

Red Parlor RP0914

Out of Los Angeles, California, comes Manda Mosher who is another one in a long row of new female singer/songwriters that have emerged the last decade or so. And since many of these have turned out to be really good as well, it certainly isn’t an easy task to stand out and make yourself heard among all these talented artists.

But it soon becomes fairly obvious that Manda Mosher has qualities that make her worth paying extra attention to. Her music is contemporary singer/songwriter that more often than not has influences from easygoing and airy pop music, but she also throws a healthy dose of guitar driven rock into the mix. It really isn’t hard to understand why American press frequently has compared her to Aimee Mann, not least because her somewhat slow and muted voice reminds you quite a bit of Mann’s characteristic, slightly lazy style of singing.

Mosher has written or co-written all the songs but one, and she often moves in the same musical landscape as Mann, which means fluffy and sensitive, but also somewhat heavier pop than Mann, with effective choruses that she combines with mature lyrics about love and relationships. To help her out with the music she has assembled some excellent musicians, among them the superb keyboardist Jamie Muhoberac (Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker) who makes sure that playing is impeccable throughout the album.

As it turns out, the songs also maintains a high level of quality throughout, not least the songs that are the most obviously influenced by pop. The title track is a delicate declaration of love, while Wash It All Away is tuneful power pop with a strong hook. Some bitter sweet feelings are served up in the affectionate power ballad Keeps On Turning, while the only cover on the album is a delightfully low key but at the same time also positive rendition of Pete Townsend’s Blue, Red And Grey.

But Mosher can certainly rock as well when she puts her mind to it. We’re given some earthy rootsy rock that has been compared to Lucinda Williams, but personally I feel myself being more reminded of Anne McCue. Just listen to the superb guitar driven rock of Lay Me Down, or the emotionally charged Americana in I Can’t Be Wrong and Don’t You Know, and I at least find the resemblance striking.

So far so good, but what about criticism, are there really none? Well, I suppose you could argue that the songs are lacking a little in variation. And perhaps you could also have hoped that there would be one or two songs that stood out a little bit more from the rest, that one or two of them would have had a little more hit potential to put it bluntly. As the album now stands, I can’t deny that as it draws to a close, there is just a hint of blandness that sort of sneaks up on you as you listen which probably could have been avoided with a somewhat more varied array of songs.

But this criticism really is nitpicking of the worst kind and when it is put in a relevant perspective we also have to conclude that it is just about immaterial. Because the quality of the songs is always firmly above average (and on quite a few occasions way above), and they are performed with considerable power of insight and flawless playing, and that’s what’s really important. With all things considered, this is therefore a really good debut album from an obviously very talented young singer/songwriter that I can heartily recommend.

Roger Persson - 20090607

The editor would like to thank for the review copy of this album.