A Girl Called Eddy: A Girl Called Eddy

ERIN MORAN, for she is the Girl whose record label likes to call her Eddy, writes and sings as if she has nothing to prove. Every track on this mouth-wateringly luscious CD whispers, “This is what I do, love it or leave it.” Her songs, steeped in ’60s classicism, make almost no concessions to the intervening 40 years, aside from the tasteful inclusion of a few subtle electronic textures and ambiences here and there. When, in the debut single, ‘Somebody Hurt You’, she suffers exquisitely on behalf of every broken-hearted lover everywhere, it’s as if Britney, Whitney, Mariah, Shania and all the rest never existed, because Moran treats her melodies with respect rather than as launching pads from which to deviate on the flimsiest of whims. She knows that emotion doesn’t consist entirely of vocal callisthenics, and that sometimes resignation and understatement can be shatteringly powerful.

She also understands why the classics of the past became classics, and uses that knowledge to devastating effect. It can’t be coincidence, for example, that the opening four seconds of ‘Heartache’ deceive the listener into expecting Karen Carpenter to sing ‘Close To You’, before the song shifts into completely different, and much more melancholic, territory. It’s a neat manipulation, conjuring up one set of images, then allowing them to dissolve, thus intensifying the songs’ impact.

Similarly, with sympathetic production from Richard Hawley, she conjures fleeting echoes of Bacharach, Motown, and in the middle of the yearningly gorgeous ‘People Who Used To Dream About The Future’, briefly unleashes a huge voice that suggests she could have given Dusty Springfield a run for her money.

Fortunately, her songs are much more than mere homages. In ‘Tears All Over Town’ she dips into areas that only a contemporary self-torturer like Lisa Germano would normally attempt, and the vibrant pulse of ‘The Long Goodbye’ is a cunning disguise in which to hide a song as drenched in regret as anything by countrified innovator Shelby Lynne.

Inevitably, not every song hits the mark. Her lyric for ‘Did You See The Moon Tonight’, for example, feels somewhat contrived. ‘Little Bird’, despite those killer lines about, “searching for hope in places where hope just don’t exist“, can’t quite breathe new life into that terminally ailing avian cliché. But anyone who can take a rhythm as relentlessly jaunty as the keyboard pattern that propels ‘Life Thru The Same Lens’ and make it sound unutterably sad should be forgiven the occasional lapse.

Moran boasts a voice as pure and resonant as Eva Cassidy, but being able to couple that voice with her remarkable songwriting skills makes her significantly more intriguing. These are not her interpretations of other people’s feelings. These are songs born of her own experience, the songs of her life. And yours.

© Johnny BlackMOJO, July 2004

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