It’s hard to believe the finely crafted songs on Glamour Child are the debut works from the indie pop trio Moonrise Nation. The band, comprised of Emma McCall on lead vocals and guitar, Arden Baldinger on keyboard and Eva Baldinger on bass and cello, is as talented as writers as they are musicians. Each piece is finely crafted into theatrical displays of artistry that are not only instrumentally pleasing but also lyrically fulfilling.
The album begins with a powerful piano intro into “Common Fear” which is quickly joined by rich vocals and pulsing percussion. A groove gets running with the help of rhythm guitar as the chorus comes around with, “but the only thing that we have in common is a fear/sitting and crying in the cold as stars reflect my tears”. The energy holds steady throughout the piece, making a great introductory tune as it showcases the band’s blend of indie pop and folk.
The collection turns from an upbeat tune into “Eye to Eye”, a spooky bit with soft instrumentals and the opening lyrics “voices in the night/ get the door and get the light”. The harmonies throughout the song are very subtle, yet effective. There’s a constant underlying pulse like a heartbeat building up to a collision of instrumentals beneath the vocals, “wish I could slow down.” The instrumentals fade out to a piano line and the faintest hint of cello before bleeding into the opening melody of “Teach Me How”. This piece, while still soft and melancholy, has more of a dreamy approach, especially when the cello lines come in. It’s a sad song depicting the pain and struggle of moving on after a loss but has a hopeful message of finding strength carrying out the lines “teach me how to love more deeply/ teach me how to take a step over the line and live my life without daring to try”.
Unlike most of the other songs on the album, “Demo Day” and “Snow” open with picking guitar lines instead of piano. “Demo Day” stands out for its abrupt chorus while “Snow” demonstrates the band’s folk inspiration with 3-piece vocal harmonies and legato string riffs.
With “Fairweather Friend”, the piano makes a reappearance, but this time with a drummer boy snare in the background. The vocals are bouncier than in previous tunes matching the drive of the instrumentals. A fullness is brought in as they enter the chorus singing “your fear and my pride/ rub together and the sparks fly high/ you can find me in the middle/ that’s what I’m headed for.” This piece blends into harmonics, opening the soft whistling of “No Harm”.
Up next is the title track “Glamour Child”. The heartbreaking love song pleas out for companionship with its heavy bass and lyrics “I swear I won’t cry when you’re gone/ babe, I know you can’t stay long/ just lay your head down”. It’s a mixture of beauty and sadness, a perfect precursor to the ending tune “Seasick”. Like every song exhibited on the album, “Seasick” is strong, musically and lyrically. Even with its sorrowful words, there’s a line of encouragement with “I wish I could be/ strong enough for me.”
Moonrise Nation performs at Schubas on Saturday, July 29. The night will also include a performance by Emily Blue.