Album Review :: Lissie – Catching a Tiger

The debut album of Lissie Maurus finally arrives in a wave of southern based, folk rock that brings a smile to your face.

Lissie Maurus

Lissie Maurus

With a refreshingly similar trend towards the great folk rockers of the Los Angeles underground movement in the 1960s comes the debut album Catching a Tiger by Lissie Maurus. Compared by many to the great Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and general notoriety fame, Lissie is taking huge leaps and bounds towards establishing herself as THE adult oriented rock scene’s up and coming artist.

Having grown up in the American Mid West, it is hard to believe that this soft voiced young girl with locks of spun gold and a demeanor that would put even a daffodil to shame for extroversion, is already holding her own amongst the ruff and tumble of the music industry. With a seemingly unfathomable innocence and very marketable naivety, Lissie Maurus describes her own music as part folk and country rock and part “Freeway rock”. The latter of these descriptions more than aptly encapsulates her debut album Catching a Tiger which delivers fourteen tracks worth of her soulful voice and expert backing from Seattle southern rockers Band of Horses.

Kicking off this AOR based album are the harmonic duo of “Record Collector” and “When I’m Alone” two tracks that immediately demonstrate Lissie’s imaginative and considerable lyric writing and imagery ability. With a sound that is very warm and friendly, Maurus’ vocals add a wonderful sense of depth and completion to what is a strong musical opening. Ben Bridwell and the rest of the Band of Horses begin with strong performances here “When I’m Alone” paying particular attention to their strong percussion ability, the result a haunting, up beat ballad that gets both the head bobbing and the mind thinking.

The album then stalls somewhat, not picking up again until the eighth track “Cuckoo” Here the pace takes a much needed injection, the true potential of Maurus’ so called “Freeway Rock” description really coming into its own. A nostalgic and positive look back at misspent youth with just a pinch of regret thrown in for good country measure, “Cuckoo” is a perfect embodiment of Lissie and Band of Horses potential to fulfill a large gap within the current musical market. Rather than be bogged down by the all too easily exploited morbid and unhappy memories that plague every creative genius, this song celebrates the defiance of youth and its petulance, delivering this message in an upbeat, subtly produced number that could very well and perhaps should be the independent, folk anthem of this summer.

The album closes with “This Much I Know”, a plodding ballad that is, admittedly, a little clichéd and predictable despite being once more wonderfully crafted and sincere in its own belief. In all Catching a Tiger is a strong and gutsy debut album from this excellent new talent. With a strong work ethic and growing notoriety of experimentation, a recent semi acoustic performance of Lady GaGa’s Bad Romance at numerous live appearances, has only credited and developed this young woman’s talent and exposure in a positive light. What lies ahead for Lissie and her backing band is potentially very encouraging.

However, the question of “Does the music industry need another blond, plaid shirted folk singer” is unfortunately a very relevant one. Although a brilliant debut, a certain lack of originality still underlies the work as a whole, a great pity considering Maurus’ talent. Only time will tell, as it so often does, whether this dove will fly, or be crushed by corporate blood letting.

Jonathan Whitelaw

The album is on general sale now and check out Lissie’s website for tour information et al:

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