by Dave Bertram
With twelve months of heavy touring behind her, the Detroit songwriter is ready to go with her sophomore record, If You’re Dreaming – a more considered, confident and predictably polished body of work than her 2018 debut, which introduced her proficiencies for energetic and complex melodies and lyrics laced with irony.
Where Quit The Curse at times felt a little empty and, to be harsh, repetitive when it came to instrumentation, the new record compiles the previous album’s qualities with more dynamic arrangements, which create more space for her soft and seductive vocals.
Current situation aside, If You’re Dreaming feels like a cat’s day spent sat looking through the window – largely sparse and delicate, with the occasional rush of excitement. The slow-climbing chord progressions carry as much emotion as her lyrics, pointedly on single Tell Me What’s True, which sees Burch almost whisper over the softened, staccato keys.
This silky-smooth delivery mellows further still on the charmingly dreamy, Jacket, where the restrained instrumentation balances sublimely with her vocal to create one of the record’s highlights.
Yet the energy from the first record pervades. Second track, Party’s Over, glides with a punchy rhythm guided by interchanging melody lines played on a twelve-string, which gives it a lovely warmth and fuller sound when contrasted with comparatively similar work from her debut. So I Can See uses synths to deliver what feels like a wake-up call.
And to accompany her wistful words come well-placed instrumentals Keep it Warm and Picture Show, giving the listener suitable moments to take a moment and reflect.
From the at times sluggish first record, If You’re Dreaming represents a step forward for an artist that sounds more comfortable and confident in the music she’s created. Put your headphones in or on, close your eyes and prepare for introspection.
Secret Meeting score: 75
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