Composite (EP)

Naomi Greenwald

Transom Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Los Angeles-by-way-of-Pennsylvania songstress Naomi Greenwald already made a name for herself with Darkbloom, her debut 2011 album. While that record was more rooted in a straightforward rock template, her follow-up EP Composite by comparison has more of an early-indie-rock-influenced sound mixed with soft rock tendencies. Together with musicians from Pete Yorn and Perry Farrell's band, Greenwald delivers five songs on the darker side of the spectrum, but with universal themes and a memorableness quotient that ensures repeated listens. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Greenwald's voice immediately draws you in on the mid-tempo lead track “So We Try,” which opens with soft pianos. Her pipes are soothing yet also confident, and she often sounds older than her years while using intelligent wordplay that draws from her own experiences, as well as literary references (not surprising considering she has a PhD in literature). It's evident right away that this young woman has stories to tell and she does so an eloquent and sometimes haunting manner.

The five tracks here all show great diversity and multiple strengths from Greenwald and company. Displaying a more refined version of her former self, the only selection here that points toward her earlier work is the louder, rock-influenced “Portraits.” “Another” and “One Season” are the two that most musically suit the often melancholy lyrics, the former being a piano-driven maudlin moment, while the latter is a moving and gorgeous track that parallels the greatness of Tori Amos. The disc closes on an upbeat note, with "James Harris" placing bouncy pianos with lively percussion.

Though far from a cheerful listen, this is a lush venture for Greenwald that succeeds on touching on the most basic emotions that tie us together as humans—love, loss and regret. Reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac, Metric or even Nina Gordon's solo work, Composite exhibits a wealth of talent; let's hope much more to come from Naomi Greenwald.

Rating: B+

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© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Transom Records, and is used for informational purposes only.