The Myrtles – Nowhere to Be Found

The Myrtles
Nowhere to Be Found

On their debut album, Nowhere to Be Found, The Myrtles consistently combine country motifs and indie rock such that the LP’s title may well hint at the hard-to-find difference between the two genres. The Myrtles have specific strengths in ample demonstration on Nowhere to Be Found: Gabe Daigle’s effective songwriting and sincere voice, John Kaufman’s dynamic drumming, and, most notably, Talice Lee’s violin, which gives the album a uniqueness that stays with you long after the first notes penetrate your ears.
Nowhere to Be Found opens with Kaufman beating his drums and the entire band contributing individual instruments in a synergistic effort. Lead guitarist Lee Barbier knows exactly when to raise the momentum, and his playing gives “Devil in a Bottle” a decidedly rocking feel. Michael Miller’s bass teams well with Kaufman, and new member Casey McAllister adds electric piano and lap steel to the mix, which gives the song warmth and immediate appeal. On “After the Show,” Lee’s violins figure prominently, but she never shifts the focus from the band’s cooperative accomplishment. Lee and Barbier give The Myrtles a special sound that appeals to fans of various genres because both musicians proceed with respect for each other’s abilities. Daigle’s singing is never hurried, and though he is vocally slower on “After the Show” than he is on the opening track, he consistently sounds genuine. There is no pseudo-emotion in these songs.
“Week of Rain / Like the Sun” finds The Myrtles in more pop territory, with a faster beat and a catchy chorus: “You came into my life like the sun / After a week of rain.” Again, Lee’s violins provide the song with a classical touch, and Daigle’s singing is outstanding. This is a love song with an upbeat kick, and it stays with you after just one chorus, definitely a highlight of Nowhere to Be Found. On “All Your Precious Things,” Lee plays her violin in an almost looping manner. She sets the emotional tone of the song with her instrument. Her impact on this album recalls Leslie Langston’s emotive cello on “Perfect” by The Rosemarys on their outstanding debut, Providence, from 1993.
“If You Left” enables Barbier to shine, with slight guitar tricks and notable changes in pace that significantly impact the song and resultant mood. Near the end, we get a healthy dose of reverb, and the song becomes more rock and less country. “Every Day” is somewhat similar to “Week of Rain / Like the Sun” because it crosses into pop/rock territory, but the song’s ever-changing structure is striking. Lee’s violin is sharper and faster, Kaufman’s drumming has greater energy than on most other songs, and Miller’s bass comes to the forefront. It’s almost as if Daigle wanted to let his band mates have the spotlight on “Every Day.”
Nowhere to Be Found closes with “Empty (…in Whiskey),” which builds slowly, almost like the part of a film soundtrack reserved for the final scene of resigned disappointment or the rolling credits. Once Daigle starts singing, he sets the imagery with his voice and words even more so than the instruments surrounding him. The song rises to more rocking territory, with a shift in volume and modern musical effects, but the end is sudden and satisfying. On their debut album, The Myrtles have created an engaging collection of alt-country songs that possess sincerity and exciting rock. Nowhere to Be Found is warm but not lethargic. It’s a dynamic album with passionate singing on many good tracks and the most memorable violin sounds heard on a rock album in many years.