Meaghan Smith – The Cricket’s Quartet

Band: Meaghan Smith
Album: The Cricket’s Quartet
Genre: Folk/Jazz/Big Band
Label: Sire

1. Drifted Apart
2. If You Asked Me
3. A Little Love
4. I Know

Tell your great grandparents to bust out their dancing shoes because big band/swing/jazz sounds are making quite the comeback as of late. Amy Winehouse took it very top 40, but now newcomer Meaghan Smith has a very more classical take on the idea that’s compelling, although not too filling. Her new EP, The Cricket’s Quartet comes complete with performance dvd [which is surely done to convince people to pay for the 4 song disc], but the time warped vocalist seems to be lacking that “it” factor, at least, for now.

“I Know,” kicks things off on a very solid note with great melody and lyrics that take modern romance and splice it into music that seems sent from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. I almost feel like a Gene Kelly film playing in the background of the music somewhere as this songs rolls along. It’s nothing too deep, but just the right amount of pop sensibilities with jazz simplicities to create a unique and pleasing song [with little lasting power]. The follow up, “A Little Love,” keeps most of the same formula, but takes a terrible turn when a turntable being scratched comes into play. It’s not mixing the music [other than a few strained notes] and just destroys the beauty of the song and turns it into some cheap remix that was never completed. The solid lyrical base and swirling strings don’t matter because while that plays you can only wonder why this turntable keeps appearing.

“If You Asked Me,” starts off wonderfully and has a great story. Who doesn’t love jazz based swing and tales of desiring to be asked for marriage? The man has done her wrong, but she still wants him regardless. The classic tale of the woman knowing the truth and the man not realizing the good thing he has going. It’s played well, but just feels a bit empty to me. The music is great, but why come back to it? This seems like amateur night at the jazz club: Nothing too memorable, but filled with highlights. Everything isn’t lost though, the EP does close with the wonderfully perfect, “Drifted Apart.” This track is what I’d been hoping to hear throughout the previous songs. The jazz feel is there, the pop sensibility is there, and there’s the “it” factor that we’ve been longing for. Norah Jones meets any folk female songwriter. It feels classic and fresh at the same time which just leaves you wanting more of the same.

The Cricket’s Quartet is a very rock release. While Meaghan Smith seems to be onto something good here, she also seems to still be finding her footing. The EP plays like a bunch of ideas not completely fleshed out and just leaves you feeling very indifferent towards what you’ve heard. Music should move you in someway and this just left me wondering what to think. Next time around though, I think Smith just might hit it out of the park, but we’ll have to see.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
Grade: 5.5/10

James Shotwell
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