Macie Stewart is best known for her work with Sima Cunningham in the Chicago-based alternative rock group Ohmme. That would seemingly be enough to make her notable, but in fact her talents are also in high demand as a studio musician, lending her skills as a session player and guest musician for hip-hop and rock artists as varied as Chance the Rapper, SZN, Whitney, and Nnamdi. Macie also teamed up with composer Lisa Kohl for two deliciously minimalistic explorations of mood, in the form of 2019’s Pocket Full of Bees, and 2020’s Recipe For a Boiled Egg. And now that you’re caught up, we’re ready to cross over the threshold of Macie’s new solo album Mouth Full of Glass.
This debut for Macie as solo performer and composer will feel familiar to long-time fans, even when it stray willfully strays into tangential categories of laconic logic. Wherever it goes, Macie’s voice is the central pillar supporting the loftiness of these songs and preventing them from collapsing to the earth below, like a great and loving gender-swapped icon of Atlas. Even then, there is an undercurrent of discontent that ripples through her voice and performances. A tense beauty- one that strains against the confines of these baroque folk song structures and the dreamy domesticity of their ebullient melodies. Like a bouquet of roses, who work in concert to turn and tilt until they tip the vase that confines them onto the tile floor of the kitchen where they are confined- sometimes these movements feel aware of the futility of their fatalistic coronagraphy, but strive to achieve their freedom none-the-less. Even if the fruit of these songs’ labor is sometimes sour, the sensation of acrid fluid stinging one’s gums and inner cheeks is still preferable to the iron deposits that flavor the regret of biting one’s tongue.
While Macie is both an accomplished piano player and violinist, she has chosen to anchors the songs on Mouth Full of Glass in lyrical guitar work, exemplified from the outset on the figure picking flow of “Garter Snake” which traps you with a warm and dusky melody- a thrall that becomes more boldly muscular the longer it embraces you with its coils. Later, “What Will I Do?” stumbles through a thicket of indecision lead by a sun-kissed tether of an earthy guitar and piano combo, one which defies gravity with the uplift of some lovely string accompaniments. These strings are a crucial part of the character of the record as well. Even if they don’t always form the core of a songs melody, they add weight and consequence to the currents of Marcie’s voice on “Tone Pome” and relieving the terrestrial pull of the sandy soiled title track to allow its melodies to rise towards the sun in a kind of liminal elysian rapture.
Buy and stream Mouth Full of Glass below: