CURRENTLY LISTENING: Living Alone EP by Maryleigh Roohan
It seems like it’s really hard these days to find a vocalist who hasn’t been autotuned or pitch corrected, driving some sort of false, tinny tones into your brain. Not so with the bluesy-rock songwriter Mary Leigh Roohan, who’s vocal tones make me want to crawl up in grandma’s soft knitted blankets and laze about the house—but it’s not always delicate and pillowy. There’s sheer power there, too. Roohan can take a crescendo past its peak and make you want to cry. To the point: her voice is full of complexity and the music follows her wherever she’ll take it. Let’s not ignore some of the talent she has working with her, though. Damn I’m a sucker for a grooving drum and bass line—I mean, who isn’t? Songs like “Not a Home” and “My Friends” are addictive for these reasons. “My Friends” is a stand-out favorite; one where each element—keys, drums, bass, and crunchy guitar lines—really push up against one another, not competing, but layering so perfectly. Whereas the vocals seemed ahead of the game in the other tunes, “My Friends” is a driving ballad that catches you up in a cacophony of melodic bliss. Roohan’s cover of “Bang Bang” is a slightly amped-up version of the original, but I fell especially hard for the drums in this one. They’re tripping, falling over, getting back up for revenge; it’s the perfect complement to the betrayal found within the lyrics. And “Bang Bang” doesn’t remove you from the rest of the EP, like most artfully done covers can. They managed to make it wholly their own. It’s a great choice for Roohan and friends. The last track, “Somebody Save Me”, is a beautiful finale. A classic ballad, it returns to a focus on the lyrics, enhanced by some heart-wrenching dynamics and on the whole is completely moving. It’s the perfect ending to this powerful EP.
Take a listen below. You can also check her out in New York on October 31 at Rockwood Music Hall. Full dates below.