Album of the Month: Mol Sullivan - A Little Hello
Musicmaking as performance versus production has always been a push and pull since the dawn of modern recording practices. Artists exist across a wide spectrum, from musicians who live and breathe on the stage, and those who use the studio as their presentation method of choice, and everything in between. For the Cincinnati-based songwriter Mol Sullivan, most of her existence has been towards the former, as far as her solo music is concerned. While being involved in various other projects in the Cincinnati scene, she cataloged away songs of her own, most of them going unrecorded save for a collection released ten years ago. This year, some of those songs have finally been documented on Sullivan’s first proper studio release, an appropriately-named collection called A Little Hello.
Sullivan, assisted by a wide crew of musicians across the Cincinnati area, delivers eight indie-pop gems across the EP, ranging in style from bouncy keyboard-led jaunts to lilting ballads. We begin with the title track, an ode to accepting and cultivating new love that bobs along with joyous energy, halfway through dropping to a slink only to build right back up again. Taking a similar subject but an opposing musical approach, we hear the arresting “Fight 4 U,” where tempos slow down and Sullivan’s vocals oscillate between layered loops and haunting lower register verses. Sullivan excels at memorable lines, like the opening to “Bury The Hatchet,” succinctly wrapping up the song’s thesis of forgone understanding in a handful of words: “How can we bury the hatchet when you’re keepin’ it hidden?”. Sullivan’s deft turns of phrase are equally matched with a gift for melody, the way she sings a line just as memorable as the words themselves.
The proliferation of recordings as the defining feature of many kinds of music is both a blessing and a curse. Many artists have dense, lengthy catalogs full of songs to discover and dissect, while others remain a little more mysterious, living an existence more in a moment than on a medium. To that end, I’m pleased to finally have more songs from Mol Sullivan I can listen to at my leisure, that material stretching back years has finally been put to tape. For an artist with at least a decade of experience under her belt already, let’s hope A Little Hello is not just a simple greeting, but the opening of a long and fruitful musical conversation.
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