Blossoms - Review
This project caught me completely by surprise when the cd arrived in my mailbox a while ago. It is the solo project of Erica Mulkey, a talented musician focusing on the cello having studied and played since she was 9 years old. This album is a collection of compositions written and produced by her and featuring her talented vocals as well as cello. It comes packaged in a simple cardboard case, though the CD looks like a classy black vinyl record.
Provided in the liner notes is a short description of the first six tracks, written, composed and performed by Erica. It's almost comical some of the themes presented such as the opening track "Compliance" described "as sung by Cinderella's stepsister", or "The Little Mermaid" - "what if a murderous desire for revenge swelled up in her tiny bosom as she danced her final, bitter dance?" That provides some food for thought as the music ebbs and flows through a mix of backing light percussion and electronics while she plays cello and lilting vocals portray the lyrics.
There is a certain neo-classical style to the music as one would expect with a project focused around a cello. The cello can be one of the most beautiful instruments when played right and this is brought out on this album through many tracks. However, while a lot of weight and emphasis in her biography and history is placed around her talents with the cello, I think her vocals are equally as powerful and beautiful. "Caught Her" is a piece that shows that beautiful vocal range and grace she has. A couple of pieces have a little bit of a theatrical style, almost as if they were part of a dark, haunting broadway musical. "Power" is one of these pieces that takes on this style as the song tells a story and could easily be acted out on stage.
The disc is thematically divided into two parts. The first six tracks are pieces written, composed and performed by Erica, while the final 7 selections are pieces put to lyrics by Edna St. Vincent Millay. She took these lyrics and put them to her own style of brooding, theatrical ethereal with the cello and her vocals taking center stage. I think with the overall style derived from the lyrics that these pieces are more melodramatic and seemingly written more for the stage. It's definitely an interesting experience to listen to this album.