Brooke Moriber – Fire
Look past the pretty face. It isn’t hard to stare at Brooke Moriber’s press photos and not be entranced by such a devastatingly beautiful lady. However, if you stop there and look no further, the first single from her debut album might shock your ears. “Fire” is premium pop, without question. This isn’t some melodically challenged confection with a subpar centerfold-turned-pop star helming a canned backing track. Instead, this is a song that bubbles over with experience lived. Brooke Moriber inhabits each line of this song with true presence, something nearly lost in our modern world, and is far more concerned with connection than entertainment. Please, however, don’t believe that the title cut from her debut EP won’t bring you substantial listening pleasure. Moriber isn’t boring listeners with some intellectual or virtuosic endeavor. Instead, this is imminently accessible music that manages to never surrender a shred of adult credibility.
There’s a darker tinge to this song that few might note. It isn’t the wont of most pop listeners to devote much time to a song’s lyrical content, but Moriber turns out a deceptively simple lyric speaking to the light and shadow of desire. Fire means passion, but alternatively, destruction. Moriber’s vocal beautifully conveys her precarious balance between these two sides of the same coin, but the bittersweet regret in the words is unmistakable. Her phrasing, unsurprisingly, shows all the nuance listeners might expect from such a longtime veteran of stage and screen. She dramatizes her message without ever overplaying her hand or lapsing into histrionics. The expertly arranged vocal melody is likely another reason for her success in her area, but a superior vocal melody isn’t enough to lift a song alone. It takes a wise and knowing singer to exploit it and Moriber fits the bill.
The musical backing is ideal. The percolating tempo seems to push the song towards its inevitable conclusion and takes a number of inventive turns along the way. Electric piano and guitar make appearances as well, but the former certainly finishes the song as the track’s dominant instrument. Moriber’s songwriting deserves praises for maintaining focus while peppering the song with a handful of thrilling crescendos that will invigorate all but the most cynical of music fans.
Moriber’s first single is another hint that the Fire EP will likely rank among the year’s best indie pop releases. Moriber deserves, even in these diminished times, to be snapped up by one of the majors and heavily promoted. It’s entirely within the realm of possibility that this debut release alone will prove worthy enough of bringing that off for her. “Fire” isn’t an easy debut to dismiss or forget. It plays like work from a woman who has waited half her life or more for a chance to fly her flag high and, with any luck, thousands upon thousands will salute her efforts.