Miya Folick: Roach (Nettwerk) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Miya Folick



Jun 01, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Finding zen through chaos should be Miya Folick’s default setting. Half-Japanese and half Russian, she grew up a Buddhist, visiting temples with her mother in Santa Ana, California. If her excellent sophomore Roach, is anything to go by, calmness has not only eluded her but she’s often the fuse that blows up her own attempts at nirvana.

“I did a bad thing, I wasn’t thinking,” she sings on “Bad Thing” as she references repeated nights of over-indulgence despite her better intentions. It calls to mind the indie folk stylings of Angel Olsen but the track is a co-write with Mitski. On the sly and sexy “Drugs or People,” Folick, a head-turner, acknowledges her upper hand in the ability to pull. “Don’t make me prove it to you/I’m trying not to use/Drugs or people,” she pleads playfully, an invitation or dare? Either way hearts will be broken. And over the skittering beat of “Tetherball,” she admits, “It’s harder to get better, than to lie, lie, lie.”

At the heart of this record is a broken one. “Get Out of My House,” a propulsive anthem with shimmery indie guitars sees Folick in a moment of strength spurning a lover who isn’t welcome any longer. “Nothing to See” reveals her mom’s relief when the affair’s run its course. Here, Folick who is queer, catechizes how we change to fit someone else’s taste and needs in little but defining ways, making countless exceptions—“You told me that you loved me but you mispronounced my name/I never corrected you because I didn’t wanna push you away”—and when things fall apart, we’re ghosts unrecognizable to ourselves, unsure how we got here.

We find the inspiration for the album’s title half the way through, on “Cockroach”—where the creeping self-loathing recedes and in its place, resilience, “Cause I’m a fucking cockroach and you can’t kill me.” Folded into this coming-of-age tour de force are themes of ambition (the Lana Del Rey-esque “Ordinary”), addiction (“Tetherball”), ancestry (“Mommy”), and body image (2007). Any one of these songs can be spun repeatedly without tiring, thanks to the humor in her songwriting, often made at her own expense, and her chameleonic voice—a range that can quiver and whisper without forsaking any of its force, or soar in pop crescendoes without showboating.

On opener “Oh God” Folick takes stock, “Spending all my 20s not believing anything”—she wondered if that’s what was missing: belief in a more western model of faith, a monotheistic religion where she could lay blame rather than take responsibility for her own free will and bad choices. Or perhaps that questioning is growth? By closer “Shortstop” the storm has passed, she’s achieved some measure of peace, “meet me at the Shortstop, no need to get fucked up.”

And whatever her earlier motivations, Roach is a brutally honest and brave interrogation of self, a struggle powered by Folick’s towering vocals as she plunders the depths of her psyche, in songs that confidently straddle taut indie rock and mainstream pop, illuminating both. (www.miyafolick.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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