Mollie Marriott’s much anticipated debut album ‘Truth Is A Wolf’ will be released on Friday 3rd November via Amadeus Music. The album is available for pre-order through www.molliemarriott.com and is available as Limited Edition Red Vinyl, Deluxe CD and Standard CD. Mollie is a highly accomplished, gifted and talented solo artist and singer in her own right who has worked with many great artists since the age of 15 including P.P. Arnold, Paul Weller, Oasis, The Faces and her stepfather Joe Brown.
Mollie’s music can be described as classic and contemporary Rock with large helpings of Soul, Gospel and a smattering of Country for good measure. I can hear influences ranging from Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Bramlett, Sam Brown, Stevie Nicks and Bonnie Raitt to name a few.
This is an album from an artist very much on the rise, someone who is taking charge and leading their own musical path, an individual in control with their own vision. This is the work of a truly great singer-songwriter who has found their true voice. A performer who has worked at their craft and honed their skill as a writer and singer and is able to deliver the goods with poise and passion.
The lyrics on the album are quite heavy and emotionally intense, definitely written by someone who has lived through the highs and lows of life and come out the other side stronger. The lyrics emote raw and profound feelings that penetrate deep into the heart and soul of the listener.
The sultry black & white cover photo of Mollie was taken by Rob Blackham of Blackham Images. Mollie is captured with eyes closed, hair dangling down the left side of her face covering her left eye, expressing a subtle cheeky knowing smile and holding her tasselled leather jacket by the labels as though she means business.
The album was recorded at Black Barn Studios, RAK Studios and Air Studios, produced by Jan ‘Stan’ Kybert, who has produced albums for the likes of Paul Weller and Oasis. Seven of the songs were further produced by Steve Orchard, who has produced albums for artists such as Travis and Sting. The album was mixed by Jan ‘Stan’ Kybert and mastered by Guy Davie at Electric.
The album opens with the outstanding ‘Control’, the first single released and the last song written for the album, co-written by Mollie and keyboard player Sam Tanner. Sam is also the lead vocalist and keyboard player with the Funk/Soul band Brother Strut. This powerful song is about Mollie taking back control of her music and taking charge of your own destiny. This is a sensational funky song that gradually builds from a piano and bass drum intro before soaring vocals enter the scene, then a full on solid heavy drum sound comes thundering in for the chorus exerting authority and adding power to drive the track to euphoric heights. Sparkling and gritty guitar work adds meat to the track and guides the melody along. The vocals are strong and muscular delivering the message across. The production is warm, wide and roomy with plenty of air. A strong song and great album opener.
The second track, also co-written with Sam Tanner, is the emotionally charged ‘Broken’, a deeply personal song that is dedicated to Mollie's daughter as an apology for the trauma caused during the breakdown of her relationship with her daughter's father. When I heard this song played live acoustically it touched me emotionally and had me welling up! This recording is the fuller electric arrangement. There is busy snare drum rim tapping at the forefront and appears periodically throughout the track, despite this distraction the overall arrangement works well with tantalizing guitar accompaniment adding texture. The vocal performance is astounding and second to none.
Third song in is the phenomenal title track ‘Truth Is a Wolf’, written by Gary Nicholson and Bonnie Hayes. Both Gary and Bonnie are American singer-songwriters. Mollie picked this one up when she was in Nashville. This song has a classy sound with a nice laid back tempo and a perfect groove to it. The arrangement has allowed for plenty space and has an airy feel to it. Compelling keyboard playing and jabbing guitar stabs augment and enhance the sensation. Paul Weller guests on guitar. There are some wicked howling vocal refrains after the chorus.
The fourth song is the tremendous power ballad ‘Give Me A Reason’, written by Mollie, Sam Tanner and Jim Stapley. Jim is a British singer-songwriter based in America. This song really tugs at the heart-strings and is another of my favourite songs on the album. Mollie’s vocals really sore and fly on this one, at times I feel it might take off into the stratosphere! Breathtaking gospel backing vocals raise up the tension and add to the emotional intensity. A truly majestic song.
The fifth track is the impeccable ‘Run With The Hounds’, another song Mollie wrote with Sam Tanner. A prodigious track with a nice laid back rhythm and a beautiful melody. An acoustic version can be heard on the 4-track ‘Live Acoustic’ EP released earlier this year.
Sixth track in is ‘Love Your Bones’, the first of two songs written solely by Mollie. This song was written after her friend sadly died and is 'written from his girlfriend's point of view'. This is a gradual building dramatic Rocker with tasty piano playing and vocals that shine.
Seventh song is the immense ‘Transformer’, the first of two songs co-written by Mollie, Judy Tzuke and Graham Kearns. Judy is a legendary British singer-songwriter best known for her 1979 hit 'Stay With Me Till Dawn', Graham is a British guitarist and songwriter. This is an epic track, another of my favourites. It has a striking anthemic chorus with a powerful and stunning vocal delivery. This dynamic and expressive track has shades of light and dark with a tasteful balance of vocals and instrumentation. A very powerful and strong song with thumping great power chords driving it along. An absolute classic.
The eighth track, ‘Fortunate Fate’, is the second song written solely by Mollie. As with ‘Love Your Bones’ this was written for one of her friends who was going through difficult times. This was the first song Mollie wrote on guitar, of the track Mollie is quoted saying; “Safe to say this was definitely Pearl Jam inspired”. A good mid-paced song that builds steadily to a climax. There are definite subtle Grunge influences with a slight hypnotic vibe.
Ninth song ‘King Of Hearts’ is the second song on the album Mollie co-wrote with Judy Tzuke and Graham Kearns, and is the second song to feature Paul Weller on guitar. A great little sleazy Rock song! Cool heavy bass anchors this track with a slightly psychedelic intro and delicate
trippy guitar notes ringing throughout. A Deftly arranged track with a nice vibe throughout. A third song co-written with Judy Tzuke, but unfortunately not on the album, is ‘Trouble & Shame’. It can be found on the 4-track ‘Live Acoustic’ EP.
The last track on the album is the monumental and arresting ‘My Heaven Can Wait’, written by Mollie and Jim Stapley. This is another soaring epic track and definitely another of my favourites. An emotionally haunting track that is dark, eerie, atmospheric, wide and deep. Nicely paced and balanced that builds layer by layer. Exceptional vocal delivery, with an abundance of feeling and emotion. You have to have lived it and felt it to be able to sing it like this! Superb backing vocals add to the overall haunting nature of the track. A formidable song to end the album on. I hope Mollie will perform this song live on the next tour.
There are two bonus tracks on the deluxe edition of the album, the awesome ‘Armour’ and ‘Gravity’. Unfortunately the brilliant single releases 'A Million Miles' and the World Party cover 'Ship Of Fools' are not included on the album, undoubtedly due to contractual issues with their release on another label.
The mark of any classic album is its timeless and enduring quality, a lasting resonance which transcends time and space. An album that is relevant today needs to be relevant tomorrow and when discovered many years down the line. It must be fresh and vibrant as the first day it was aired. Each listen will bring out other subtle elements perhaps not heard before to further emphasize the shear quality of the recordings. I strongly believe Mollie's debut album meets these criteria. It is definitely one for the record collection that will be listened to time and time again. It is nothing short of brilliant!
With quality this good I have every faith that Mollie will have a long and successful career.
This year, as well as performing solo headline shows, Mollie has completed tours supporting Paul Weller and Wilko Johnson, and will be supporting Bad Touch on their UK tour this November.
Steven C. Gilbert