Review by Dom Vigil
Myrle’s new album, A Dozen Hearts is soulful, rugged and full of heart. From the upbeat beginning to the emotional end, and all of the highs and lows in between, A Dozen Hearts is a fun ride.
Kicking off the album is the soulful track, “Vicious Circle.” The raspy quality to Jamie Clarke’s voice is the first thing that listeners are sure to notice about this song, but his heartfelt vocals aren’t the only strong aspect about “Vicious Circle,” or A Dozen Hearts in general. The lyricism, and (in this track specifically) the unique songwriting are high points, too. The tempo changes in “Vicious Circle” are unconventional, but very fun to listen to, and the guitar work at the very end of the track fits the mood of the song very well. That strong guitar work only continues on the following track, “Kinda Sad, Kinda Beautiful,” which has a bit more grit to it than the first song. While Clarke’s soft vocals don’t necessarily match the tone of the instrumentals in “Kinda Sad, Kinda Beautiful,” (I almost wish his voice was a little harsher in this song) it is still very fun to listen to.
“Bits & Pieces” comes in after “Kinda Sad, Kinda Beautiful” and makes up for the second song’s small shortcomings by miles. This slower track matches Clarke’s voice perfectly, and the added female vocal harmonies really showcase his vocal abilities even more. The emotion also runs high in “Bits & Pieces,” making it a total standout. “Soapbox Preacher” is another song that is worth mentioning simply because of the smart songwriting. The song is catchy and fun to listen to, and ends very abruptly, in a way that really helps tell the story and will make you want to listen to the song all over again.
The only downside on A Dozen Hearts comes toward the middle of the album, which seems to lose a bit of the momentum that it builds with the first four songs, especially the high energy in “Soapbox Preacher.” The slower songs, while strong lyrically, just don’t hold as much diversity and energy as the other songs do. However, “Short Story Long,” is very beautiful. The deep tones in Clarke’s voice are showcased very well in this track, and the instrumentals, while slow and simple, fit the song perfectly. The song has these moments where the vocals and instruments crescendo suddenly, making it feel like it’s breathing, and the outcome is wonderful. Following “Short Story Long” is “Winnipeg,” which picks up the pace once more. “Winnipeg” stands out from the pack not only because of the great songwriting choices (especially where the song changes tempo and becomes fuller toward the end with added horns) but also because of Clarke’s vocal choices. His voice sounds much thicker, less raspy and more energetic on “Winnipeg,” breathing some life into the second half of the album.
“Grey” brings A Dozen Hearts to a strong and slow close while showcasing many aspects that make the album very strong. The vocals in the beginning of the song are soft and simple, but become more emotional as it goes on. Vocal harmonies supplement “Grey” as well, adding yet another layer. The song also crescendos beautifully during the chorus much like “Short Story Long,” and the result is absolutely beautiful. A Dozen Hearts is the result of smart songwriting and years of experience. Listeners are in safe hands with Myrle’s new release.
Listen to "Winnipeg" or "Soapbox Preacher"
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