Album Review: Meaghan Smith – The Cricket’s Orchestra

February 2, 2010
By

Meaghan Smith - The Cricket's Orchesta artworkTitle: The Cricket’s Orchestra
Artist: Meaghan Smith
Label: Warner Bros
Released: 9 February 2010 (Canada)
In one word: Vintage

The opening track “Heartbroken” is the perfect mood setter for Meaghan Smith’s debut album The Cricket’s Orchestra. The song introduces snapshots of the 1920’s to 1940’s inspired music that can be heard throughout the record, while Meaghan’s voice is sophisticated and rich with a vintage tone.

While Meaghan Smith’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 Meaghan’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 “I Know”, which is the second track on the album. “I Know” builds on the strong start to Cricket’s Orchestra and adds in elements such as some elegant keys and a gentleman whistling – with the man in question being Meaghan’s father. There is an innocence and air of grace to everything that seems lost in the time that Meaghan’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 “Drifted Apart”, 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 “Take Me Dancing” – 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, I’d consider this best fitting for “occasional listening”. Granted, it’s not going to appeal to everyone’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 Valentine’s Day falling on the Sunday just a few days after the Canadian release of The Cricket’s Orchestra, the timing could not be better, and I’d suggest this as a fitting musical gift for a guy to give his doll.

© Brian Banks

Related links:
Meaghan Smith – Official Website

Brian Banks

Editor and Founder, Music Vice Magazine. Writer. Photographer. Poet. From Scotland. Not Ireland. Proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Rock N' Roll Don't Pay The Rent... 

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One Response to Album Review: Meaghan Smith – The Cricket’s Orchestra

  1. Amanda Watts on February 3, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Love it!! just checked out some of her stuff on myspace and youtube, thanks for turning me onto a great artist.

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