Peace, Love, Death, and Chocolate is a batch of interesting songs from M E (Marion) Law, a local resident and Canadian native who has been playing since the late ‘80s in locales as far flung as Vancouver, Japan, and… San Diego. She has performed at folk festivals and recorded four CDs, including her newest, specializing in original pop that has an eclectic spin.
The new album, produced by San Diegan Nick Blagona, has ten tracks, and mixes up its approach. Law, by turns, is a breathy, almost ethereal folk songstress, weaving atmospheric tales that bring to mind a rootsy Kate Bush, then in the space of a track can either get down and bluesy, soar over a jazzy lattice, or play quirky observational pop with clever lyrics. And she does it all pretty effectively, as her voice can paint both dark and delicate, while her wordsmith skills composing absorbing, amusing lines matches or exceeds her ability to nail a melody hook.
The ethereal Law is heard on the first few tracks, like the opener, “If I,” a pleasant mid-tempo pop/folk ballad about self-improvement. The instrumental canvas is soft and complementary to Law’s vocal, which on this and several tracks is wrapped up in reverb as she delivers sly lyrics that include talking about time travel. “Little Patch of Sun” is a highlight, a very catchy folk tune addressed to a long-time lover, remembering the good times. A jazzy guitar strum and percussion lift “Pure Energy,” which sails high with huge background vocals punching up the choruses.
With “Part Time Angel,” Law puts her breathy soprano persona on hold and gets into a blues-rocking shuffle that is a good break in the program, and show her ability to cross style lines. It is loaded with amusing lyrics, like “I went to confession/ The priest just kicked me out.” “Where Is the Chocolate?” is another clever track, a jazzy love song set on Valentines – to the candy, with great lyrics like “Please bring Russell Stover to your next booty call,” and “Tell me now it’s on its way, you’re having it delivered/ Shove your shiny trinkets, chocolate makes me quiver.” It’s catchy, it’s funny, and a standout cut. Quirky Law strikes again with “Your Mouth (Is Bigger Than Your Brain)” and this one also works well. The disc wraps with “We’ll Be One,” a track that addresses the world’s problems, as Law lumps in racial, sexual, overpopulation, and other sources of strife in modern society, with a goal of “one happy family.” While problems this big can’t be solved in three minutes, the song is catchy, breezy, and has the optimistic feel of its lyrics.
M E Law’s Peace, Love, Death, & Chocolate takes a few listens to fully appreciate, but has enough variety of style and sound to grab the listener’s interest-and make for a good listen.