Analogue Music | Alice Merton - No Roots EP
No Roots EP

No Roots EP

Artist: Alice Merton · Written by Matt Conner

Date Released

6 April, 2018


Mom + Pop


16 minutes

"I like standing still but that's just a wishful plan."

To hear Alice Merton tell the story behind her song "No Roots," the title track and opening number for her new EP, is to encounter a compelling (and slightly depressing) story, an adolescent never allowed to stay in any one place during a life stage in which instability reigns on the inside, too. "A thousand times, I've seen this road," she explains, admitting that the only certainty in her life is change itself. 

Fortunately (for herself and her ever-growing audience), Merton found a place to settle, in some ways, within her art. "No Roots" is a slick pop sing-along that rides a funky bass line, sharp synth hits, ethereal harmonies and driving percussion. Despite the subject matter, Merton's jaded alto struts with all manner of confidence even while singing such vulnerable lines. "Lash Out" opens up even more emotionally, admitting the anger, frustration and general emotional build that's becoming too much to bear. "It's not really like me to lash out," she sings even as she feels the opposite. "So hard to hold this fire inside me."

"Jealousy" is a slightly more restrained track, musically speaking, yet the proiminent keyboard and jangly guitar are a nice breather from the synth heavy opening punch. Here Merton's vocal is left to susceptibly hang on its own, suspended as instruments fall away. "I keep fighting but the monster won't let me win," she sings. "Hit The Ground Running" covers over any emotional awkwardness with a confident drum line and heavy synth soundscape. This is Merton's finest moment, vocally speaking, as she sings atop a killer hook and dense instrumentation. Instead of getting lost in the mix, Merton is leading the entourage toward the EP's end. 

"Lie to My Face" is the only slow song of the bunch, yet it burns with a seething energy that can only come from singing about such deep relational betrayal. Together with "Hit the Ground Running," it's easy to see Florence and the Machine fans making comparisons on "Lie to My Face."

In the span of five compelling songs, Alice Merton has established herself as a charismatic performer who can simultaneously create a real emotional connection with the listener. The sentiments are as real as the melodies that carry them, putting Merton in a rare category of pop music artists likely destined for a long career.