Bucolic pop for the earnest
In her debut album, Lake Tear of the Clouds, L.A.-based singer-songwriter Cornelia Murr projects a bold aesthetic vision through mellow synth textures and a vibrant voice. Murr creates her own sound with a breezy stretch of a singing style well matched by a synth layer that stretches from jubilant to ominous by track. Murr’s sound displays a wide versatility across her eight-track LP, which makes sense when you find out Murr is working with producers like My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, himself a champion at being mellow and soulful.
The album cover finds the singer lining up… well, technically it looks like the reflection of ocean water, but also eerily like cocaine at the same time. This reflects the album’s eerily rebellious spirit, pervasive in tracks like the pent-up frustration of “Man on My Mind” with some cheery synth and a backbeat.
Murr’s songwriting is fueled by a broad frustration, with the wider world but also with herself, as a person’s thinking is constantly overtaken by powers outside of their control. This emotion crescendos, along with the music, in “I Have a Woman Inside My Soul,” which ditches synthesizer for an echoing guitar solo that turns out to be an album highlight, as Murr questions who she is and who she wants to be. The album closer “You Got Me” continues the foray into guitar pop with a Spanish guitar sound that verges on sinister but leaves the listener on a positive note.
Most of the music on Lake Tear of the Clouds, which is an album title equally mystical and mystifying, is interesting and firmly cements Murr’s brand in the throes of mellow indie. Unfortunately, the album has a tendency to stray too mellow, especially in the synth-heavy sections which, combined with Murr’s narrow range of effective-enough wistful prettiness, can create a blur across the first half of the record. The worst victim of this synth-blur is “Billions,” which contains the least interesting interplay of the album’s various elements, often falling through the cracks on listen-throughs. However, most of the synth-heavy tracks have their distinctive qualities and the music often impresses, or else leaves the listener in a constant state of chill.
Cornelia Murr offers a distinct and dreamy new voice with waves of synthesizer that crash pleasantly against the shores of the mind. With an aesthetic that matches the shifting moods and sounds of the music, Murr gives a strong introduction to herself.