[Album Review] Mozart's Sister- Being
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

by Mark Anthony Brennan


Release Date: August 5th, 2014
Label: Paper Bag Records

Caila Thompson-Hannant (a.k.a. Mozart’s Sister) is a close friend of Claire Elise Boucher (a.k.a. Grimes), which is perhaps even more reason why the two are constantly being compared, to the point that MS is often dubbed the ‘next Grimes’. This is patently unfair, because it is completely a no-win situation. If she does sound like Grimes then she’s a copycat, if she doesn’t then she is not living up to the comparison. So let’s not do this – let’s review MS solely on her own merits without making reference to anyone else. Fair is fair.

OK, continuing to be fair, ‘Being‘ is a damn good record, if your demands aren’t too high. This is a collection of better-than-average synth-pop, featuring some crazy beats and infectious rhythms. The lyrics are far from the usual dance floor fodder – they are brooding, dark, even sinister “Daddy’s got a gun/and he’s been crying to himself all morning long”. So, everything’s good, right? Not quite.

The problem is Thompson-Hannant tries a bit too hard to push this one over the top. She wants to be edgy, but it’s not always convincing. When she sings “Don’t fuck with me” and “My drugs, all I have late at night” she just comes off like a good girl trying to sound tough. And, as inventive and clever as her samples, sounds and effects can be, she lays it all on it bit thick, as if she is trying to tart up some very average material with glittery wrapping. To be honest, some of the songs, such as “Enjoy”, “Faif” and “My House is Wild” are a little too close to radio-friendly contemporary R&B for comfort.

But when Thompson-Hannant manages to fully integrate her vocals into the background music things really fall into place. As an example, her singing on “Bow a Kiss” does not stand apart from the accompanying music as it does on some of the tracks, rather it fully complements it as though it was just another instrument. Other standouts in the same vein include “Salty Tear” and “Don’t Leave It To Me”.

To be absolutely fair, there is nothing bad on this record at all. All of the songs are solid and worthy of a listen. It just so happens that some of them raise the bar that much higher.