The delicate fragility of the music and the achingly beautiful melodies that permeate ‘Better Daughter’ by Toronto duo Moscow Apartment plays a fundamental part in why this EP is so good. It is not, however, all that there is. Lyrically and in attitude, the band, despite its youth, is far deeper and more complex than that. Pascale Padilla says:
A whole point of identifying with something is [being able to] look past the surface level of it to understand what is going on at a deeper level…
This epitomises Moscow Apartment’s music: deceptively multi-layered and complex. Intelligent, incisive lyrics that tackle misogyny, growing up and the mundanity of everyday existence are an indelible part of the songs. Moscow Apartment’s social feeds indicates a dedication to important social issues and reveal an intelligent and mature discourse. But above all, the music speaks for itself. This is a special EP.
Take ‘New Girl’ for example. It has the gorgeous harmonies and vocal interplay between Padilla and Brighit Fry with a bright indie guitar pop tone, but has a dark message. Padilla says:
It’s about sexual assault, it’s about being catcalled, misogyny, you name it,It’s kind of just about rape culture and how normal and widely accepted it is. And honestly, the internalization of rape culture.
The opening track ‘Halfaway’ (reviewed by me earlier this year) is utterly enticing. Splashes of guitars and a melancholic edge as the challenges of friendship are explored.
The harmonies are dream-like and hypnotic. ‘Meredith Palmer’ has a chorus that scales the higher than the Rockies with a sweet refrain:
I could be a better daughter, you could be a better son. I’ll head straight for the water, but you’ll help me when I can’t run. You’ll help me when I can’t run, when I thought I was a bother.
While inspired originally from a bizarre dream relating to the TV series ‘The Office’, the band have later related being a “better daughter” and a “better son” to one’s relationship with nature.
‘Awful People’ cloaks sarcasm and barbs against social networking with impossibly beautiful harmonies and melodies.
Final track, ‘Two Timer’ exhibits the grittier side of Moscow Apartment: a slightly grungier undertone and with tongue planted slightly in cheek.
Moscow Apartment’s music could be classified as folk, but the instrumentation and vocals are far more universal and with a little more spine to be comfortably identified solely within this genre. What is clear is that there is an incredible level of songwriting and musicianship that makes ‘Better Daughter’ one of the stand out releases of the year so far.
‘Better Daughter is available on Friday, 10 July 2020 and can be ordered/pre ordered here.