Album Review: Marissa Burwell – Either Way EP

From Saskatchewan’s heartland, Marissa Burwell crafts a resonant indie-folk tapestry in her latest EP, “Either Way.” After the success of her full-length 2022 album “Bittersweet,” Burwell returns, marking a more intimate and reflective step in her musical evolution.

Opening with “Coward,” the EP invites us into a vulnerable space, exposing the fear and hesitation often hidden deep within. Burwell’s lyrical prowess paints a visceral image of a person bound by fear and societal expectations. Her self-exploration echoes in the very chords, resonating with a universal human condition.

The standout track, “Kiss Her,” ventures further, challenging heterosexual norms with lyricism that touches the soul. Burwell’s voice carries a weight of experience, reflecting the societal complexities surrounding relationships. Supported by Lana Winterhalt’s haunting clarinet, this piece is both a musical and thematic triumph.

The emotional crescendo continues in “You’re Not Trying Very Hard.” The melancholic melody intertwines with lyrics of longing and fear. It’s a lamentation and a warning, a complex emotional weave that captures a sentiment so uniquely human.

A significant strength of the “Either Way” EP is Burwell’s collaboration with producers Madison Nicol and Chris Dimas, and fellow Regina musicians Tom Duffy and Lana Winterhalt. This collaboration fosters a rich musical landscape, where each track is a world of its own, yet together they form a coherent and captivating narrative.

The final track, “Either Way,” concludes the EP, encapsulating the entire experience into a contemplative and philosophical exploration of life’s unpredictability. It leaves the listener in a state of introspective wonderment, pondering the questions and themes so delicately crafted throughout the album.

Beyond the individual tracks, “Either Way” is a testament to Burwell’s growth as an artist. The EP reflects a maturity and depth that not only sets it apart from her previous work but also raises the bar for indie-folk storytelling. Her ability to blend profound lyricism with tender musicality results in an experience that transcends mere auditory enjoyment.

Furthermore, the EP’s release via DevilDuck Records marks an exciting phase in Burwell’s career. With performances at renowned venues like the New Colossus Festival and the El Mocambo, and an upcoming appearance at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, there is a palpable momentum in her journey.

However, the profundity explored in “Either Way” may feel overwhelming to some, and at times the introspective musical tone might not cater to every listener’s taste. But that’s what makes this EP an exquisite piece of art rather than a mere collection of songs.

In essence, “Either Way” is a resonant journey into the human soul. It’s a thoughtful commentary on societal norms, an intimate reflection of unspoken experiences, and a soul-stirring exploration of love, hope, and healing. For readers seeking more than a fleeting musical diversion, “Either Way” is an essential listen. Its nuanced exploration lingers, inviting you back again and again, each time revealing something new. It’s a masterful indie-folk creation that showcases Marissa Burwell at her finest, and it stands as a beacon for what contemporary music can aspire to be.

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