Meg Mac | Low Blows | Rating: 8.5/11
“Low blows, man up / It’s all good, man up / ‘Cause I don’t say much when I don’t like it”
Megan McInerney doesn’t say much when she doesn’t like…something. That is where and why the songs of Meg Mac come in.
Low Blows is the stuff of some heady years of potential officially achieving the real as McInerney aka Meg Mac crafts bluesy, neo-soul that simultaneously sounds as gracefully retro as it does freshly contemporary, as well as sourced from a more urban (if not American) setting rather than Australia. The instrument of McInerney’s voice treads so finely that line between bold richness and faltering vulnerability – the title track being a perfect exemplar of conducting a mental self-examination and calling you and self out.
But on this, her debut full length album, all is far from throwing vocal shade at herself or at others; Mac merely keeps the lyrical storytelling emotionally limber and more linear than not, which makes for a refreshing act of soulful, personal intel with her young, world weariness playing out song for song. There is much to appreciate about Low Blows, not the least of which was the decision to not jack up a perfectly good thing. Here’s to the music Gods (McInerney along with producers Austin Jenkins and Josh Block) for the fine judgement of not tricking this record out with overwrought and unnecessary electronic touches; instead, wholly supporting McInerney’s warm/cool, honeyed tones and her ability to bend, flex and coo them as she sees fit with traditional instruments, keeping things earthy and grounded. The results shine with flashes of Motown flair (“Maybe It’s My First Time”), gospel touches (“Cages”), and even an edge of rock (“Ride It”) but it may be the purity and absence of anything between McInerney and her piano on “Shiny Bright” that is the closest thing to a flawless capture that speaks artistic volumes for her if ever McInerney feels at a loss for spoken words.