Sound — 9
Sweetly spun fairytales set to harmonious movements fashioned with elements of art pop and ethereal folk permeate through every pore of Miwa Gemini's latest recording "Fantastic Lies Of Grizzly Rose". The Brooklyn-based ingnue demonstrates a wily streak in the purring swells of her melodies. Joined by vibraphonist/accordion player Aaron Burns and drummer/percussionist Matt Brundrett, Miwa Gemini's sonic fantasies entail a complementing repertoire of upbeat rompers like the country-brewed "Goodnight Trail" and the rockabilly-whipped "Pioneertown Love Story" bridging into the tranquilizing acoustics of "The Other Half Of Me" and singalong ditties like "Matchbox House Blues" and "Carroll Street". The bluesy Americana tooling in Miwa's guitar along "Between The Seasons" is peppered in twinkling xylophone chimes and puttering drumbeats while the long strides of "Troubling Waltz" are accented in a festive fare of gypsy-tinged accordion twirls and marching band drum rolls. The subtle indentations in Miwa's chord patterns through "Carroll Street" are tapered by the toylike chimes of the xylophone which graze the gentle peaks and lulling troughs. Miwa's vocals infuse an ethereal tint in the tracks particularly in her cover of "Que Sera Sera" and "Chanson" which she strolls through effortlessly tuning her timbres to heighten the emotions expressed in the French lyrics and demonstrating her versatility as an indie artist.
Lyrics — 9
Fantasizing is a recurring theme in Miwa Gemini's lyrics as she invites, "Won't you come and meet me at the Goodnight Trail / where the Moon meets somewhere East and West / see how my shadows becoming less frail / only we could meet at the Goodnight Trail" in "The Goodnight Trail". Other times, Miwa's words encapsulate the need to be true to oneself and be appreciated for it like in "Between The Seasons" as she tells, "I'm too big / too small / too quiet / too loud / too strong / too fragile / too heavy / and too light / stuck between the seasons / I want to be me but yet matter some how / stuck between the seasons / please let me trade off arrogance for humility / I'm too strange / too normal / could I have more that I dream of. Please let me be happy". Her lyrics are continually reaching out for something whether it is based in fantasy or related to reality.
Overall Impression — 9
True to being a singer-songwriter-guitarist who takes pleasure in exploring music that she is passionate about, Miwa Gemini creates idyllic soundscapes in "Fantastic Lies Of Grizzly Rose". The penmanship of her verses and melodic phrasing is uniquely her own having been homegrown from her agile imagination. She exceeds expectations as an indie artist by transforming raw materials into well-honed sonic structures. When artists refer to the songwriting process as making magic, "Fantastic Lies Of Grizzly Rose" embodies such a concept and shows it can be done.