Melissa Bryan – Return of the Woman

January 01, 1970

(Rockhaüs)

 

www.melissabryan.net

 

Melissa Bryan has been a stalwart of the Austin music scene since her power pop/punk
band the Shindigs made the rounds back in the early ‘90s. She’s stayed out of
the record racks (but not off the scene) since then, and finally returns to
musical action with her first solo album.

 

As befits a record made over several years’ time, Return of the Woman  ranges all over the thematic landscape, from
the brash (the title track) to the bitter (“Bring Back Pete Seeger”), the
romantic (“Last Saturday Night”) to the melancholic (“Small Stars”), the
defiant (“Til Night”) to the celebratory (“New [Brave] World”). Bryan holds
nothing back here, relaying small details (“Now the waiter wears a shirt that
says ‘Me so horny'”) as eagerly as big ideas (“But how can we find our
freedom/When all we do is fight”) and personal affirmations (“I’ve been looking
for God/But I don’t know if I’ll need her”).

 

Essaying a deliberately raw strain of indie guitar pop, Bryan lets guitars and
her plainspoken voice rule the arrangements, though she’s not afraid to add
pianos, percussion and even horns if it strikes her fancy. But it’s the words
and their delivery that mean the most in this album’s universe, and anything
that might get in the way gets pushed to the background. In that respect, the
songs could frankly use a few more hooks. But when Bryan asserts “This joy is contagious/I’m not
afraid of anything” in “New (Brave) World,” it’s such an irresistible sentiment
that it’s easy to overlook any flaws in execution.

 

DOWNLOAD: “New
(Brave) World,” “”Rock ‘n’ Roll Save My Life Last Night,” “‘Til Night” MICHAEL
TOLAND

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