The opening track â€śHeartbrokenâ€ť is the perfect mood setter for Meaghan Smithâ€™s debut album The Cricketâ€™s Orchestra. The song introduces snapshots of the 1920â€™s to 1940â€™s inspired music that can be heard throughout the record, while Meaghanâ€™s voice is sophisticated and rich with a vintage tone.
While Meaghan Smithâ€™s music has plenty of a wartime influence going on, her vocal style bares little resemblance to famous songstresses of that era like the Andrews Sisters or Kate Andrews. Rather, her voice is more contemporary, a little bit like Norah Jones, but I liken her to sounding closer to fellow Canadian songstress Jill Barber.
“There is an innocence and air of grace to everything that seems lost in the time that Meaghanâ€™s music is so greatly influenced by.”
The vintage vibe is one that is epitomized well by the retro animated characters that feature in her music videos, such as the one for â€śI Knowâ€ť, which is the second track on the album. â€śI Knowâ€ť builds on the strong start to Cricketâ€™s Orchestra and adds in elements such as some elegant keys and a gentleman whistling – with the man in question being Meaghanâ€™s father. There is an innocence and air of grace to everything that seems lost in the time that Meaghanâ€™s music is so greatly influenced by. The retro theme never comes across as being a gimmick, while both the lyrics and their elegant delivery are genuine.
The music often has a slow pace but this adds to the old-school vibe, and it’s sometimes the slowest moments, as with â€śDrifted Apartâ€ť, that can be the most disarming. In other places there is a more up-tempo swing to proceedings, especially with the toe-tapping, finger-snapping number â€śTake Me Dancingâ€ť – a song that could easily have been taken from the ballroom scene of some old black and white movie.
Given the nature of the music, Iâ€™d consider this best fitting for â€śoccasional listeningâ€ť. Granted, itâ€™s not going to appeal to everyoneâ€™s tastes, but if the hack writing this whose wearing a Dead Kennedys tee can like this then I’d suggest the appeal here might be broader than you may first imagine. The old-fashioned flavour of the music brings something different to the current female singer-songwriter scene – without a doubt, this is a classy debut.
With Valentineâ€™s Day falling on the Sunday just a few days after the Canadian release of The Cricketâ€™s Orchestra, the timing could not be better, and Iâ€™d suggest this as a fitting musical gift for a guy to give his doll.
Â© Brian Banks
Meaghan Smith – Official Website