Image © Megan Slankard 2001
More Megan Slankard
Freaky Little Story
(02 February 2004) Lady Is A Pirate
(MS2966, 2001) Megan Slankardís debut album
reflects the place of its genesis, Tracy,
California--it's full of beautiful, warm songs. She
was 17 when she made it and had already been
playing professionally for two and a half years.
She borrowed a mic and recorded it her living room
using her brother's Digital Performer software.
The result is an extraordinarily warm sound with
crystal clear vocals. What lifts this CD and Megan
Slankard above the many other west coast female
singer-songwriters currently doing the rounds is
the quality of the song writing, her exquisite voice
and her distinctive vocal delivery which means
that, despite the simple instrumentation throughout.
Megan plays guitar and sings and Rich Talley adds
bass and there's always something to grab you and
hold you in thrall.
There's a tendency to call any music produced by
a young woman playing an acoustic guitar 'folk.' This
definitely canít be applied to this album; most of the
songs have the feel of stripped down rock numbers.
Only her guitar style in "Haven't Been Down"
approaches anything folk-like; and even then it's
in an early Joni Mitchell/Neil Young kind of way.
Megan also uses some interesting tunings like
There are two distinct Megan Slankards on this
CD. The first is the one singing songs in her own 'voice.'
Tracks like "Landed," "Damn You," "Second Best" and
"Me Again" are simply brilliant. The other 'Megan' uses
a voice with slightly overdone jazzy/blues tendencies
which just doesn't match up. By far the weakest
track--in fact the only weak track--on the album is
"Radio Blues." This version of Megan's voice detracts
from the otherwise very fine "Strictly Mr T." And then,
just to confound me, the smoky delivery on "Company"
is brilliantly effective. The songs in her own voice are
simply so much better.
Where age often shows is in the lyrics. But, but
there's no hint of a surfeit of teenage angst here; in
fact many of the lyrics are complex, offbeat and
sophisticated in both construction and delivery,
showing personal insight and a sense of self-deprecating
humour too. "I said, 'what's up?, howís it going? what's
been happening my man? Yo! / But what I really meant
to say was just 'hello'." [Havenít Been Down]. She often
uses this conversational style, a personal approach
which succeeds in pulling the listener in, getting
them really involved. "First of all," he said, "what is
this? Are you trying to make my heart beat faster or
are you trying to stop it?" [Damn You]. Even the more
conventionally constructed songs are full of neat lyrical
twists and turns--they just tend to rhyme more. In fact
the only lyrically weak song is, once again "Radio Blues."
Overall, this is a gorgeous, beautifully realised, debut
album, full of imagination and clever observation. Megan's
voice is a fluid and evocative instrument that leads you
through the maze of her offbeat and individual world. And
perhaps most excitingly of all, it promises a whole lot