Sunday, January 25, 2015

Macedo: “Paper Doll” (2014) CD Review

Macedo is a band whose core is sisters Michelle and Melissa Macedo, who also wrote all the material of their 2014 EP, Paper Doll. That EP features some seriously moving songs and gorgeous vocals. This group can lift you up and get you moving with a track like “Like Me Most,” and then move you in a completely different way with a song like the sweet “Remember.” This is pop, yes; but it’s pop with intelligence and heart. Plus, I’m a sucker for any album with cello. On this release, the band is rounded out with Caleb Bigler on guitar, Hunter Hunt on cello, Ryan Loui on bass, Sam Morgan on bass, Nabedi Osorio on drums, and Khris Kellow on keyboards, as well as special guest Ken Christianson on violin.

Macedo kicks off the EP with a glorious pop gem titled “Like Me Most.” This tune has a groove you can move to, and there is soul at the heart of it. There is a wonderful, bright feel to the music, particularly in the electric guitar part by Caleb Bigler. This group is based in Los Angeles, and the lyrics mention the Pacific Coast Highway. And check out these lines: “Need a change of pace to catch me/Like a heavyset hunter would/Artemis did never actually/Stick with Orion for good/Love you ‘cause you're a little bit dangerous/In a fairly responsible way.”  I love the energy on the line, “Crank up the music and play,” which leads, appropriately, to a brief instrumental moment.

“Like Me Most” is followed by “Remember,” a beautiful and moving song driven by excellent vocals, as well as piano and cello. Here are the opening lines: “I am the ruins of a song strung along to/Sound nice to everybody else/I am a mess of sounds and colors and ivory mistakes.” And I’m really fond of these lines: “I didn't feel the losing then/I only felt the need to leave.”

“Your Skin” begins with vocals and piano. And then when it kicks in, the song has a delicious and engrossing power. This is one to turn up and get absorbed in. It has lots of peaks and valleys, and a good lead guitar part by Caleb Bigler. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “Remember when we couldn’t sleep/When you got back to town/We tried to get so tired and wound up/Driving around/Fixated on getting/Underground.” I also really like the section near the end where they repeat the lines, “Damn, you're a pessimist/Damn, I'm a cynic/Damn, I'm about to kiss my worst critic.” Macedo has released a music video for this song.

Macedo gives another strong, emotional vocal delivery in “17,” my favorite line being, “Some things in life don't just end with goodbye.” It’s simple, but so effective. And check out these lines: “He said I don't want to hurt you/But it's funny just how/We surprise ourselves with just what we allow.” And then the EP’s title track, “Paper Doll,” has a kind of beauty that includes something of an innocence, particularly in the music. There is almost a fairytale feel to it. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “I know/You care/Only as much as your shadow allows/I know/You care/If only you let yourself say it out loud/The past is like revolving doors/Only I am stuck in yours/In yours.”

The EP concludes with “Amazing,” a pretty love song driven by vocals and piano. “There is a child inside of me/Who functions out of fear/Though you shouldn't come closer/You should still stay here.” There is also some nice work on violin, and I love the way the vocals and violin work together. I also really like this line: “All your mistakes have led you to me.”

CD Track List
  1. Like Me Most
  2. Remember
  3. Your Skin
  4. 17
  5. Paper Doll
  6. Amazing
Paper Doll was released on February 4, 2014 on MoonGold Records.

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