Mom + Pop signee Alice Merton has dropped her debut album “Mint,” and it’s as refreshing as its title implies. The singer-songwriter originally made waves back in 2016 with the release of her debut single, “No Roots.”
The song, featured on her 2017 EP “No Roots” as well as her new album builds on the premise of Merton having to move around a lot throughout her life and feeling like she can’t settle down anywhere, or put down “roots.”
From “No Roots” to “Mint,” Merton has done something really interesting with her style and voice as she has blended pop and modern alternative in a compelling, original and often catchy way. From top to bottom “Mint” delivers a diverse array of radio friendly, fun alt-pop. There are a few ballads mixed in, as every good pop album should have, but overall it’s a fast-paced energetic ride.
The album kicks off with “Learn To Live” which features a strong guitar strum melody played over a thumping kick drum, ushering in the energy that flows throughout the tracklist. Merton laments over her fears holding herself back and wanting to overcome them. It’s a fitting sentiment for a first track on a debut album. This is an artist putting her work out there on a public stage and is likely feeling some fear over what will happen and how people will react. She no doubt hopes to overcome those fears.
The next track, “2 Kids” is slightly slower and passionate. It utilizes a more digital, synth-lined sound. Merton dives into her relationship with a life-long friend. She looks back on their relationship and treasures the times that they were youthful and happy. It fits well into the transition into “No Roots,” which still stands out as one of Merton’s best tracks. The emphatic “roots!” that rings out during the chorus of this song over the backing of a slick bass line makes for a song that makes you want to tap your foot and bob your head no matter where you’re listening.
Like “No Roots,” “Homesick” centers on Merton’s growing up and moving around. It’s difficult to find a home when you never pick one, but it’s still hard to miss the many places you’ve spent time in. It’s more of a somber tone but still keeps the upbeat sound of the preceding tracks.
It’s immediately followed by “Lash Out,” which may be my favorite track on the project. It’s a song that’s reminiscent of some other alt-pop women that have brought a lot to the genre, like Florence + The Machine. It’s high energy and Merton brings an extra flare to the vocals that really makes the song pop.
“Speak Your Mind” and “Trouble In Paradise” are two other dancey tracks that don’t leave a heavy impression but still manage to be a lot of fun to listen to. “Honeymoon Heartbreak” slows things down with a bittersweet ballad that shows off more of Merton’s vocal and emotional range.
The album closes with “Why So Serious,” a lighthearted bop that brings the appropriate final punch to a youthful, playful and fun album that’s worth at least a listen.
It’s a promising start to Merton’s hopefully long presence in the alt-pop space.