Since her 2002 debut album ‘Bramble Rose’, Tift Merritt has proven to be an incredibly accomplished singer-songwriter, adding a few new layers of intelligence to the modern world of soft folk pop that could easily be shrugged off. Here we have ‘Stitch of the World’, an album released in a cold, uncertain climate that has been packed more recently than ever with multiple budding female folk artists.
Does this album add any real nuances to the genre? Probably not – the guitars are appropriately light, and a lot of the backing consists of in-and-out string sections that luckily don’t get in the way too often. It’s hardly quaint but it has an old-fashioned folksy charm, the kind of thing we’ve heard quite a lot from Merritt’s music in the past.
Lyrically, ‘Stitch of the World’ is solid, not necessarily consistently engaging, but solid. ‘Heartache Is an Uphill Climb’ does what it says on the tin, it’s an ode to the blues, a wistful tune about how difficult it can be to bounce back from sorrow. ‘My Boat’ is similar, not in the vein of sadness, but it’s also about what the title of the song suggests…a boat!
There are a few bright sparks in the form of the title track and ‘Icarus’ and ‘Dusty Old Man’, and the later collaborations with Sam Beam play their part in making the record a likeable one, but the lack of any real ‘thinking outside the box’ mentality really hurts ‘Stitch of the World’. Nothing on the album is offensive or painful, just a little bit tedious as it goes on to the point where you’d sooner be listening to the likes of Julie Byrne or Laura Marling, somebody with a bit more heftiness to their sound. Still, the aforementioned key tracks are worth checking out.
There is a lot of melancholy folk and chamber pop that doesn’t feel like it has much direction, and ‘Stitch of the World’ is adding to those numbers. It’s a shame, there is certainly potential present, and there is a range of positivity – the songs are wholesome, well-performed and quite charming, but very little will make you want to keep going back. ‘Stitch of the World’ is an easy listen, but too bland to be anything more.
‘Stitch of the World’ is out now via Yep Roc Records.