Smooth country melodies meet sophisticated pop song structures in the latest release from Brooke Moriber, Cry Like a Girl. Sporting such fun-loving swing tunes as the title track, “Time Takes It’s Time” and “The Devil I Know,” Cry Like a Girl is comprised primarily of bucolic ballads that speak to Moriber’s singer/songwriter influences, but also features a handful of spunky songs that tread the waters of roots rock and traditional country music. This New Yorker is strutting her skillset with pride in this first official full-length album, and though it’s a sprawling LP that boasts a lot of different sounds and methods of attack on the part of its star, it’s cohesively held together by a lush lyricism that is laced with shades of vintage folk music.
The closing track “Shattered Glass” is one of the more brooding ballads on the whole of the record, and shares its framework with the stunning lead single “The Last Goodbye” as well as the vivid “Behind the Scenes.” While Moriber admittedly gets a little formulaic with a handful of songs here, she’s careful to avoid overstating a theme or recycling a rhythm between two different tracks. She’s got a multidimensional profile just waiting to come alive in this album, and in songs like “The Devil I Know,” we see just how strong it can be when left unrestricted.
“Here and Gone,” “It Doesn’t Hurt” and “Long Long Time” are exceptionally moving on an instrumental level, and I think you could definitely make the argument that the music itself is telling as much of a story as Moriber’s lyrics are. The verses are more plainspoken and draw the central focus in “Time Takes It’s Time,” “99 Days of Rain” and “Steal the Thunder,” but they’re woven into the fabric of the music without ever sacrificing any of the organic warmth in the strings, melancholic minor key howl of the keys, or elegant emotiveness in the vocal.
Moriber comes off a little hesitant in the “Here and Gone” and “The Last Goodbye,” but in the title track and “Behind the Scenes,” there isn’t even a trace of restraint in her execution. I think that she’s still finding her sound, and considering that this is her first LP after a string of teaser singles, it’s something that is to be expected – even in the most talented of artists. She’s going in the right direction in tracks like “Shattered Glass” and “The Devil I Know,” and if they’re a taste of what’s to come next, you can definitely sign me up for more.
Cry Like a Girl is a breakthrough moment for Brooke Moriber as a solo singer/songwriter, and it provides us a picture window into the soul of her songcraft as it presently stands at this stage of her career. She’s grown up a lot since the formative “Up All Night,” and I think that with the proper creative cultivation, she could become a genuinely powerful player in the new Nashville scene. I’m excited to hear more from her brand in the future, and I doubt that I’m the only critic saying as much right now.