Walk the line

Sorcha travels far on her full-length debut
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  February 21, 2007

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ON THE MOVE: Sorcha heads out for a stroll.

An album with ADD, Sorcha’s Walk It Once just can’t sit still. Like Jack Kerouac in the 1950s, the whole disc has the itch. Sorcha travels down a “Long Country Road,” spends time “Chasing a Moving Train,” rides a “Helium Balloon,” and returns via a “Road of Second Chances.” Along the way, she travels all over the musical spectrum and unveils a suite of musical styles that shows a wide-ranging songwriting ability delivered with an enjoyable and consistent aesthetic.

In fact, anybody expecting touchy-feely singer/songwriter stuff will be pleasantly surprised from the get-go by the jazzy and upbeat “Don’t Hold Back,” with a melody dominated by a descending mandolin line supplied by Pete Morse, who also recorded and mixed the album at his Busted Barn (see “Just a Day Away,” by Sam Pfeifle, February 9, 2006) recording studio. Sorcha displays some serious bravado, belting out the chorus and walking the talk at the same time: “Say what you feel and do what you need to/Don’t hold back.”

Even when the music is slower and more relaxed, Sorcha doesn’t do a lot of holding back. With “Good Lovin’,” she gets pretty damn sexy, using a sultry doubled vocal to croon that she’s “ready for you to give me some good lovin’/I am ready for you to make my head spin.” See, she’s “more of a make-up-your-mind-and-do-what-you-want-right-now kind of lady.” Sounds good to me.

That same aggressiveness sometimes has her sounding like Heart’s Wilson sisters, as on “Barely Survivin’,” but she generally keeps pretty contemporary. “Moving Train” should remind local fans of Emilia Dahlin’s last album, with a driving snare supplied by Zak Trojano and a quick, staccato delivery from Sorcha that ought to get you out of your seat and heading toward the garage to get behind the wheel: “Let’s drive all night/Let’s try/To imagine what else we’ll find, outside/Of this town, this city, this state line.” Here, and all over the album, she opens and finishes with the chorus, in between sneaking in witty verses with smart rhymes like “time,” “behind,” and “North Caroline” (a shortening the Old Crowe Medicine Show are fond of, as well).

That start-with-the-chorus construction gets a little repetitive, though, and there are a few times when she uses an instrumental break as a bridge when a change of pace with lyrics would add more to the song. When you start with the chorus, then finish with chorus-break-chorus, that chorus can get tiresome, even if it’s a good one.

“All Night” shakes it up a bit more. It’s a great slow burn in 4/4 at the start. Sorcha’s voice is at its best come-hither, espousing a night that would make Homer Simpson happy: “I’m going to sit you down/in my living room [she busts out a great vocal bend there] with a cold beer/and if the phone rings/I’m just going to let it ring/cuz tonight I’m right here.” Then it picks up the pace for a pre-chorus (which graduates through the song) and chorus, before returning to the verses’ pacing with a chill electric guitar break from Morse.

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