Myra Moreta sings of love and loss in her debut album, Tiny Songs.
Californian via Berlin singer songwriter Myra Moreta knows something about disappointments in love and life. Tiny Songs, Moreta's first release, is an eight song set of originals and a cover that lets us in on her feelings about men, cats, death and an intolerable job.
The first song on the album, "Coddled" (its about men) starts off spare with her main instrument being the cavaquinho, a small Brazilian guitar-like instrument, but soon a violin, bass and percussion move the song along. This combination of instruments except for the occasional appearance of sitar, banjo and a few songs with acoustic guitar make up her band.
Moreta is not afraid to step outside mainstream pop and throw in some musical dissonance to spice things up. "You Can't Make Me Care", about a job, picks up the tempo a bit and she throws in some of her world music influences into the vocals. The chorus has a slight Middle Eastern flavor that takes you off guard but is very cool.
"Chipembere (Rhino)" and "When Are You Coming Home" are reminiscent of Joni Mitchell's early hits but Moreta adds some interesting instrumental colors that update the songs to keep them from being too familiar. Moreta's guitar work is excellent on these tracks.
The fourth track starts off with the solo cavaquinho and a tortured bass for "Something Is Wrong Here. Moreta is not afraid to challenge the listener for sounds not heard much on the radio but she mixes things up for a somber lament. The chorus reminds me of a church boy choir soloist.
I Just Do It For The Cats is pure silliness. If all else fails there are always the cats to keep you going. Who needs men when you have cats?
Moretas cover of You Are My Sunshine is presented in a mildly dissonant arrangement that may be the best interpretation of the song yet. This song has been recorded plenty of times in a folksy/western style but here the skies are dark and the loss of love is heavy. It turns out this song isnt very happy at all, in fact its probably one the most existential, loss of love songs Ive heard in a long while. Theres no whining going on here, just the facts.
The album closes with Moreta accompanied by her classical guitar. Its somehow fitting that last song is saying a regretful goodbye to a recent love and saying goodbye to us, the listeners.
This is a sophisticated introduction to a new talent. Moreta hints at what will surely be coming to surprise us and hopefully wake up the music scene out of its doldrums. I recommend listening to the album a few times before coming to a conclusion. I did and was rewarded with interesting layers in the arrangements and the cynical turns in the lyrics.