Memphis-born and -bred, subsequently NYC-formed and -fed,
Megan Reilly has been off the radar since 2006’s Let Your Ghost Go – an eternity in pop, but within the indie
milieu, it’s simply called “a hiatus.” She’s allowed to have her time devoted
to motherhood and domesticity, anyway, and the break also provided plenty of
time to hone her songcraft. Backed by Steven Goulding (Mekons) on drums, James
Mastro (Bongos, Health and Happiness Show) on guitar and Tony Maimone (Pere
Ubu) on bass, plus guest guitarist Lenny Kaye on a few tracks on John Wesley
Harding stepping up to the mic for the delightful duet “The Old Man and the
Bird,” Reilly makes the most of her fresh moment in the sun.
Located generally at the indie-rock of the alt/country/folk
spectrum – Reilly holds appeal to Neko Case and Sharon Van Etten fans alike – The Well pulses urgently with the
rhythms of life, and in places, the cessation of those rhythms through death.
“The Rise and Fall of Sleep” is literally about those rhythms; the subtle, sweetly jangling number is an homage to
Reilly’s young daughter, at rest in her nighttime bed. Meanwhile, the twangy
“Throw It Out” wears its heart devastatingly on its sleeve: “he is gone, moving
on,” sings Reilly, adding, gravely, “he says he doesn’t love you,” and you
can’t help but feel your own little pinch of heartache.
Speaking of pain, only Reilly truly knows why she selected
Iris Dement’s devastating study of permanent loss “After You’re Gone” to cover,
but in its hymnal piano ballad arrangement, Reilly finds placement for her
sweet, tremulous warble that’s at least as ghostly and haunting as it is
angelic. Then there’s the aforementioned Reilly-Harding summit (penned by
Harding) which, in its spare, two-voices-and-one-acoustic-guitar simplicity,
offers a mid-album respite guaranteed to calm, temporarily at least, the
Richly-rendered and emotionally riveting, this Well is a deep ‘un.
It Out,” “After You’re Gone,” “Sew The Threads Into Your Heart” FRED MILLS