Erin Muir teams up with Sackville musician Evan Matthews to create ‘Each Other’s Skins’, the debut from her performance project, WROTE.
Erin Muir stands in contrast to a lot of what we’ve come to expect from the foggy city of Saint John, at least as far as the city’s notable indie scene goes. Performing under the name WROTE, Muir holds a unique position among the cranked amps and up-tempo rhythms the city is known for. Her music is soft, and her lyrics are personal. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to drop what you’re doing and listen with your full attention. As she clearly states on her Bandcamp page, WROTE is, “a Saint John, New Brunswick band that doesn’t play punk rock.” She gets it.
I first saw Muir perform in Halifax last fall as part of the Quality Block Party showcase at Halifax Pop Explosion. The show’s lineup included Motherhood, Whoop-Szo, Shrimp Ring, Little You, Little Me, Tooth and the Fang and a lot of other bands from New Brunswick. WROTE was the only band on the bill I wasn’t familiar with. I remember arriving just before the scheduled start time and was going over the day’s order of play when the overhead fluorescents cut out and the music started. Up until that moment, I was expecting WROTE to be a quartet, a trio or maybe even a duo. I guess I should have done my homework. I wasn’t expecting WROTE to be a solo act but looking back on it now, I’m happy to have been introduced to Muir and her music in that way. Standing alone amongst a sea of sprawling instruments, amps, cables and lights, she began strumming her first few chords and just like that, the conversations abruptly ended and we all listened intently.
Last week Muir released her debut EP as WROTE. Each Other’s Skins is a five track collection of songs recorded and produced by Sackville multi-instrumentalist Evan Matthews with additional help from Saint John musician Dan Chamberlain.
There’s a lot of things happening on this album. Matthews’ contribution complements Muir’s voice and modest guitar accompaniment really well. His subtle counter melodies, synth work and tasteful percussion help to bring a greater complexity to Muir’s songwriting by revealing the melodic potential each track possesses.
Things do however get a little blurry at times, particularly on the track Chameleon. The song starts off with Muir’s guitar delivering powerful depth and melody, setting things up nicely for the vocal track. But as the song progresses, the bottom end that was firmly established at the beginning gets lost under one too many layers leaving things a little hollow and thin when compared to the rest of the album. Thankfully, Muir’s voice and her ability to pen an engaging tune remain at the forefront of the entire EP.
Overall, Each Other’s Skin is a solid and long overdue introduction to Muir’s songwriting. After releasing just two singles in her first couple of years performing, this EP is a big step forward, helping to solidify her place as a confident musician and performer while also firmly positioning her as an artist to watch in the months and years to come.
Favourite tracks: Not Afraid and To The Lighthouse.
Each Other’s Skins was released April 19.