Written on a tattered deck chair in a back garden in Portland, Oregon, MayMay’s self-titled EP is a hushed, melancholic longing for home. An ode to family and friends, Arizona native Laura Simmons offers wistful, honeyed vocals to the sound of dulcet finger-picking.
Born a Fable opens with the gentle picking of nylon guitar strings, Simmons chimes in: “Hold on to your own way, this is life, this is empty and fragile, I was born a fable”. MayMay’s utilisation of an autotuned echo evokes a somewhat fragmented, forlorn persona. Her melancholy is echoed and underlined again and again throughout the EP; she appears to hide no emotion in doing so: her homesickness is laid bare. Although, it is a sickly xylophone and timid shaker in All is Still which are Simmons’ saviour – they give the record a little perspective from its dejected sound. Whilst she may otherwise draw comparisons to the likes of SoKo, her intermittent use of light hearted, twee instrumentation avoids an uncomfortable magnification of her confessional despondency.
It is MayMay’s vocals, however, which make this record quite difficult to engage with. Whilst MayMay is a five-track EP, by the third song in, the monotony and uniformity of Simmons’ vocals becomes tedious. Falling back on the same vocal pattern consistently throughout MayMay means that no matter the quality of the lyrics, the last few tracks become background noise to any activity. Perhaps to sit in a quiet place and to invest time and patience to MayMay’s MayMay may give an entirely different reading of the record. It would, however, be hard to find many people willing to invest time in a record which isn’t engaging or incomparable from the start.