Review of Murphy's Heart Album by Thea Gilmore

With a career spanning 13 years, 11 albums, 3 EPs and 9 singles, Oxford-born Thea Gilmore has always received critical success but never achieved the commercial buzz. Even Uncut magazine described her as '"the best British singer-songwriter of the last 10 years...and then some". With a quite-unique voice and a great wisdom exemplified in her lyrics, it is obvious to see why she has never simply faded away. But also at the same time, if this, her 11th album, is anything to go by, it is evident why she has never been publically recognised.

Thea Gilmore Murphy's Heart Album

Murphy's Heart is a laidback and relaxed LP in which Thea Gilmore is able to effectively combine soul, folk, country and jazz. With her wispy vocals, it seems that her music is ideal for a lazy summers day on BBC Radio 2. Chilled and removed off all dramatics, the album becomes a perfect remedy after a long or tiresome day. However, what hinders this album is that it may be potentially too laid back and thus actually coming across quite dull and boring. Nothing really stands out and there aren't any songs sadly that actually blow your breath away. Tracks such as Mexico and Coffee and Roses scream out filler as they come across generically dull with nothing special to stand for. Listening to album, I soon found myself actually zoning out as I became that bored and therefore making me realise that the album may be only decent for background music.

Thea's Irish parents have definitely had their influence here. Both Due South and Love's the greatest instrument show connections with traditional Irish folk music whilst combining it with a more jazzy and soulful melody. Thea is also able to do her best Shania Twain impersonation by experimenting with a harder country western sound. Whilst Automatic Blue is a laidback drive through American Midwest, Teach me to be bad is a much a louder upbeat country tack that cleverly combines these traditions with jazz and funk.

It is obvious that Thea has been in the business for a long time. Her lyrics show experience by her use of extended metaphors, colloquialisms and cleverly using sayings to fit her rhyming schemes. On the other hand, at times, her lyrics seem very uninspired as they are just repeated phrases over and over again; as seen in the choruses of This Town and God's got nothing on you. Similarly, on You're the radio, whilst the song is great and uplifting (a tad cheesy too but there is nothing wrong with that!), the lyrics mixes more combinations up than questions in an IQ test - you'll get what I mean when you listen to it.

Thea Gilmore has been in the business for a while and we can see this proven in her work. Witty lyrics accompanied with great melodies show a proficiency that tends to lack in a recent music scene that is inundated with new and up-and-coming artists. However, there is no denying that the result is a major lull. Filled with bland and boring songs, this album hardly captures the attention. Sadly for Thea, maybe it will be the case of 12th time lucky.

1.5 (out of 5)

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