It was back in June when BLAB, the project Frances Murray, caught our attention. Her debut single, “Johnny”, impressed us with its infectious pop-rock melodies and thoughtful story about an individual who took unnecessary chances. But what surprised us was that the song was written by an artist who isn’t even an adult. We were left with the question, “How can a 17-year old write such a song?” We still ask that question today as her debut EP, Everything is everyone else’s fault, has arrived.
Like her first single, Murray’s EP is an eye-opening, fantastic effort. What is remarkable about the EP is that none of its four songs are like the other one. But what may be more impressive is that Murray did everything on the EP and all in the confines of her bedroom. There was no studio to record her music. No producer helped her refine her diverse sound or fine tune her songwriting. There was no backup band performing the different instruments. She did it all. She was everything – writer, producer, guitarist, bass player, lead vocalist, backup vocals. The only thing she did not do was play the drums, which she admits were programmed (likely on GarageBand).
You couldn’t tell that Everything is everyone else’s fault was a bedroom project, especially when the EP kicks off with the catchy and nearly anthemic “Johnny”. The melody transition and the guitar shifting into reverb are characteristic of veteran artists. The gritty and moody “Money”, likewise, echoes more accomplished artists – part Arctic Monkey, part Wolf Alice. The storyline is tremendous, as she sings about a person who is unable to find happiness:
Nothing is ever enough for you, you’re never content
So what’s the point of wasting over money you could have spent
I’ve tried my best to tell you time and time again
So what’s the point of wasting over money you couldn’t spend.
The reverb guitar line that opens “Fresh Blood” is awesome and sets the song’s dark mood . This clever tune, which resonates the sheer power of Death Valley Girls, has Murray taking the role of a narrator as she tells the story of a predator seeking fresh prey. Whether the predator is a person, a vampire, or something unknown, but this rocker is captivating.
The EP closes with the mellow and intimate ballad “deep blue seafront”. It is arguably Murray’s best and most alarming. The stripped-down approach echoes Julien Baker, who similarly exploded on the scene at a young age and with her own self-produced work. However, it is the story about a lost soul contemplating taking her own life that grabs your attention. Everything about the song – from the lyrics to title being in lower case – exemplify Murray’s talents and thoughtfulness.
While her moniker BLAB may seem childish, Murray is anything but. She is an artist to watch closely, a talent who could one day rival another great singer-songwriter, Courtney Barnett. Heck, she just might be the next Courtney Barnett.
Everything is everyone else’s fault is out now. Hear the entire EP on SoundCloud.
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