January 14, 2019 Alice Merton – Mint (Album Review)
In 2017, Cryptic Rock showcased a Developing Artist named Alice Merton, a songbird and a nomad who was celebrating her lack of roots. Having already built an impressive name for herself, Merton returns on Friday, January 18, 2019 with her full-length debut, Mint, via Mom + Pop.
Platinum-selling, English-born, German-based, Canadian-something, Singer-Songwriter-Pianist Alice Merton is a woman of many homes and yet none at all. She was first brought to international attention back in 2016 with her explosive hit “No Roots,” a dirty little Indie Rock explanation of her gypsy lifestyle. With over 140-million YouTube hits to date, clearly Merton’s life without boundaries has struck a chord with others. No one hit wonder, her latest single, “Why So Serious,” is currently at 5-million streams worldwide. She has toured the U.S. with Vance Joy; performed on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show, James Corden’s Late Late Show, and Live With Kelly and Ryan; and is beloved by fans and media alike. So, what is next for Miss Merton?
Well, that would be her full-length debut, Mint, a spicy little confection that continues her uncommon journey through glorious Pop sensibilities, Disco-dusted dance-a-thons, and a superbly independent spirit. For the 11-song disc, she blends her myriad of influences into a sound that is wholly her own, while continuing to explore new musical avenues. There are some misses, but the bulk of Mint is the stuff that hits are made of!
Mint kicks off to a funky beat that explodes into “Learn To Live,” where Merton’s luscious vocals dance around the idea of living without consequence. It’s an impossibility that sounds like a sonic dream! Next, it’s an age-old topic (pun very much intended), but these “2 Kids” are tighter than friends, fighting against the world and weathering the storm side by side. Our dynamic duo head toward stardom alongside a gentle electronic beat and some delicious Pop flourishes, weaving a lovely little ode to Merton’s bestie (and manager), Paul.
The song that will forever haunt her career, “No Roots” is just as glorious here as Merton celebrates her gypsy lifestyle with this funktastic, thumping good time. It’s a truly magical celebration of lovingly embracing a lack of geographic boundaries in a time when others are building walls. The deliciously fat bass segues perfectly into the silly “Funny Business,” a proclamation that this young woman doesn’t mess around with games and funny stuff. Clearly aimed at young Top 40 fans, it lacks a certain intellect that’s present in its predecessors (and followers) and, with its ridiculous vocal edits, falls kind of flat. In short, it is seemingly intentionally cheesy.
Next up, piano accompanies Merton as she confesses that she doesn’t get “Homesick.” This is where her talents shine, accentuating her songbird vocals and her sincerely candid lyrics. We learn much more about our songstress in these intimate moments where she’s not messing with any silly business. Though, she does shine just as bright when she amps it back up for the bopping “Lash Out.” Here, she dusts herself with some Florence + the Machine-esque gold flakes, going for retrolicious guitars that set hair a-flailing and hips a-shaking.
But before you start to think that this is just a dance party, she dips back into intimate pleas with “Speak Your Mind,” a repetitive yet smoky and passionate appeal. This sonic communion is mirrored in later tracks, stronger tracks, such as the particularly moving “Honeymoon Heartbreak.” Stripped down, Merton’s passion is clear for all to see!
“Where were you when the lights went out?” the vocalist inquires as she taps her toes to the beat of “I Don’t Hold A Grudge,” another prance into delicious bass licks, funktastic everything, and those magically groovy vocals. There’s no side-stepping the fact that Merton is a diva at blending Neo Disco with Indie Rock, and crafting the inspired gems that are found throughout the bulk of the disc, including the edgy, catchy fun of “Trouble In Paradise.”
To close out the collection, Merton attempts to top her “No Roots” mega-success with an anthemic little head-bopper that demands “Why So Serious.” It’s infectious and intelligent, and, most importantly, fun. A reminder that life needs smiles and laughter, that everything cannot always be so severe, “Why So Series” is the perfect closing number for a stellar debut collection and a friendly reminder to a world much in need.
Alice Merton is a name that you do not want to miss! With the voice of a siren and a uniquely pleasing, oft cheery spin on Indie Pop and Rock, with that wondrously magical dusting of Neo Disco vibes, her music, much like her life, defies boundaries. From start to finish, Mint is a spicy debut from a woman who is guaranteed to make waves in 2019. Bright and hopeful, genuinely meaningful, the album is a collection that proves that Alice Merton has a bright career ahead of her. From no land and yet all lands, she brings a sprig of sonic delight that you need in your life! For these reasons, Cryptic Rock give Alice Merton’s Mint 4.5 of 5 stars.