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"Molly Bancroft"



M o l l y B a n c r o f t
R e v i e w s

PASTE MAGAZINE April/May 2004

MOLLY BANCROFT Get Closer (rey ban) * * * *

For longtime observers of Molly Bancroft's flirtation with folk and rock and everything in between, it shouldn't come as any great surprise that her solo debut, Get Closer, corresponds to sonic profiles exhibited amongst her musical female peer group. The reverent piano of Tori Amos ("Get Closer"), the electronic burble of Beth Orton ("Dance Song"), the folk-pop bruise of Suzanne Vega ("Funky Little Mouth") and the soaring anthemics of Sarah McLachlan ("Run Away") alternately poke their heads into the frame, as the former Lift frontwoman moves from one genre to the next with suprising grace. = Even with Bancroft's minor stylistic shifts between songs, her material retains a cohesive = sound by virtue of muscular songwriting; fiercely confessional in lyric, bedrock solid in composition and arrangement, offering many of the best elements of contemporaries like Jonatha Brooke and John Gorka. With stunning clarity, Bancroft distills all she's heard = and known over her decade-long career into Get Closer's strikingly singular presentation. -Brian Baker



SPLENDIDEZINE.COM Review, Oct. 18, 2003

Molly Bancroft
Get Closer
Rey Ban

Molly Bancroft's name has been linked to a constellation of female pop stars. There's Sarah McLachlan, the sensitive remix princess, and Suzanne Vega, master of erratic pleasantness. There's also the very indie Beth Orton and her calculated mix of style and soul. All of these touchpoints make good selling points for Bancroft, but dropping their names is no more accurate than comparing her to George Michael. Such comparisons only tell you that Bancroft's voice is high, thin and girly, but also flexible; she can hit lower-octave notes like Michael and the other girls, and she can wrap her tongue around one word in 10,000 different ways.

As with every talented artist, though, Bancroft has no single talent that's precisely the same as someone else's. She carves each syllable and note into a sound all her own. Her voice is a genuine gift that would get high marks on any Star Search program, and she takes it to another level. Rather than dragging her notes out like a wacked-out Whitney Houston, she delivers short, sharp phrases with emphases in unexpected places. Her skills prove most effective when she's matched up with the dance music that dominates Get Closer. Dusty Springfield and Kylie Minogue have fit well with the Pet Shop Boys, and so would Bancroft.

She also cherry-picks effectively from her past experiences. From her former band, Lift, she borrows Joan Jett swagger for some effortless snarls and meows. She deftly employs her jazz experience, too, treating each song like a group of elements she can organize however she damn pleases. Like a scat singer, Bancroft swoons over moments that seem randomly selected, but always conveys love for her material. She stands apart from other great Friday night cool-down music because her vibe is all about infatuation; this is not confessional Nick Drake material, but she plays it with the same intimacy. Her quiet approach might be another inspiration for all those McLachlan comparisons, but the material is far different -- the angst is more manageable, and there's a better emotional balance. The highs and lows are more attuned to a healthy person's own sensibilities, making the music more approachable. Whereas Bancroft's peers seem willing to stab themselves in the back, if only to get your attention, Bancroft possesses a shocking confidence that builds upon her gifts. She opens her mouth and encourages you to Get Closer, and she knows that you will. Her music is love with a healthy heartbeat.

-- Theodore Defosse

September 15, 2003

Molly Bancroft "Get Closer"

Bancroft's full-length CD is so pristinely recorded and her voice so penetrating that, when combined with such strong material, it makes for a stunning piece of work. Listeners will hear a bit of Suzanne Vega and Beth Orton, but Bancroft has her own vibe. "Some New Paradise," as seductive as it is, is just one of a number of memorable and diverse tunes. "Funky Little Mouth" and "Hey Cheri," with its sing-speak style, is a curve that nails the strike zone. Industry should check this out.



GogirlsMusic.com Sept.2003
GET CLOSER, Molly Bancroft (Reyban Records)
by Madalyn Sklar, Gogirlsmusic.com, June 2003
Molly Bancroft " Get Closer " Genre: pop

Every once in awhile I come across a CD that absolutely blows me away. This is one of them! Molly Bancroft, former frontwoman of the now defunct Atlanta based trio Lift, has gone out on her own and is making a place for herself in the indie music world. Bancroft combines rock, pop, dance and funk to bring out her own style of exceptional, imaginative music. Hands down, this is the best CD of the year!
Hit Picks: "Dance Song" and "Funky Little Mouth"



ATLANTA INTOWN By Collin Kelley, Editor, July 2003

EVERYTHING AND THE GIRL: Molly Bancroft taps into Eurpoean sound for her solo debut.

As lead singer for alternative rock band LIFT, Atlanta resident Molly Bancroft was the chick with the electric guitar and riot grrrl attitude. So, imagine her fans' surprise when she released her solo debut compact disc, Get Closer, with its mélange of ambient-trance, pop, jazz and folk with a decidedly European feel.

Bancroft said that while preparing to write the material for Get Closer, she immersed herself in the sounds of UK favorites like Everything but the Girl, Chicane, Beth Orton, and Underworld. Then she brought it Sheryl Crow's bassist Tim Smith and Tender Idols drummer Guy Strauss to polish off the disc. She played all the other instruments herself, including piano, loops and drum machines.

The result is a sound like no other currently on Atlanta's music scene but Bancroft said the new direction is not really a surprise to her. America's late '90's flirtation with Britpop and trance may have never caught fire with the mainstream, but Bancroft has taken that music's energy and merged it with such classic sounds as those created by pioneers like Kate Bush to create her own groove.

"This music has been bubbling under the surface since I was a teenager," the Michigan native said. "I had a drum machine and keyboards and was my own one-man music show."

She began her musical career at age 11, playing tenor sax in her community's all-adult jazz band. Then she went off to college in Boston just as grunge rock was emerging thanks to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Bancroft said she was persuaded to "pick up the electric guitar and buy some Marshall amps" and form a rock band.

Fortuitously, Bancroft came to Atlanta searching for a drummer and wound up meeting her Lift band mates. Success came quickly as did two acclaimed records and an EP released between 1994 and 2000. With the success came endless touring with everyone from Guadalcanal Diary to the Indigo Girls.

"It was exhausting," Bancroft recalled. "I went through a lot with LIFT. We were doing four live shows a week and even recorded jingles for Coke. It was a blast, but then we went broke."

After LIFT parted company, Bancroft took odd jobs at Starbucks and landscaping companies to make ends meet. In 2002 her need to make music resurfaced and she found herself returning to her roots. One of the first tunes was simply called "Dance Song," and it would not be out of place at a London club.

Then there are the more ambient, folky songs like "Jump into Love,", "Lightheaded," and "In Between" that are almost cinematic in scope. She gives a nod to her rocker girl days on the tunes "Funky Little Mouth," and "Hey, Cheri..." which have a more stripped down sound that recalls Garbage's finer moments. With her Chrissie Hynde meets Tanita Tickaram vocal style, British record producers would be beating down her door if she lived on those shores.

But this isn't Europe, so how does Bancroft think Get Closer will be received locally and in this country?

"We are in a music rut," Bancroft acknowledged, saying rap, power rock and teenybopper music dominate the airwaves. "But this is the music that I believe I was meant to make. The reaction has been good so far, so we will see."

One person who believed in her was Cristina Rey, who became Bancroft's manager and gave her the advance to go into the studio and record Get Closer. They set up ReyBan Records to release the album.

While selling the album from her Web site and at local stores, Bancroft is also getting some support from her old label Daemon Records, which has agreed to distribute Get Closer.

Radio station 99X has been playing the sweeping ballad, "Some New Paradise" on its Organic X show. Bancroft ifs also trying to figure out how to reproduce the CD's sweeping atmosphere on stage for her first solo gig on August 1st at the



Southeast Performer Magazine- August 2003
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Molly Bancroft - Get Closer
Engineered by Glenn Matullo, Mark Rains and Ralph Cacciurri Recorded at Orphan Studio, Zero Return, Doppler Studios Atlanta Mixed by Ralph Cacciurri Mastered by Glenn Schick
Reviewer -Blair Barnhardt

Out of the gate, I was ready to stop listening after the first two spins. However this is only due to the fact that I despise loops and drum machines. If it weren't for Bancroft's angelic voice this review wouldn't have happened. Then like a TSN turning point, songs, 4, 5, 6 and 7 shine like stars, what with real live warm blooded musicians being tracked. Bancroft, your voice is far too good to be singing over loops, leave that for Cher and Celine. I found it no surprise that the songs that interested me most all had full instrumentation. Somehow you made me think of "I Won't Miss You" (Stones) with "Hey Cheri" and its Lou Reedish phrasing sung with your incredible head voice. Again, song structure was textbook. I was particularly impressed with the background vocals throughout. About this time in the spinning process I am realizing that this Bancroft girl has depth in her writing abilities. Track eight's U2 ish groove is a bit long but enjoyable. Then suddenly, as songs #9, 10, 11 and 12 finish the listener is offered up fluffy filler tracks, Cher techno beats and bordering on boring easy listeners. Whats up with that? For a minute or two there, I was really impressed. Bancroft, if you take the meat of this CD and focus on creating songs that deliver one signature style rather than flirting with every genre of music available I know you will have an exceptional follow up to Get Closer. Perhaps, that in itself is what the title means; you are finely tuning your skills as you "get closer" to a great CD next time. With pristine production and some very, very well written songs, Get Closer gets a solid 7.5/10. Here is a thought, ditch the drum machine and loops and call the next CD "Finally There?"



- Paste Magazine, etc.


Discography

Molly Bancroft - GET CLOSER. Songs from this CD have appeared on Dawson's Creek, All My Children, won awards from Rockrgrl Magazine (grand prize), and has been nominated for countless awards for not only Molly's performance/songs, but for the stellar production. "Jump into Love" will be featured in upcoming Hollywood release "Pretty" in Summer 2005.

LIFT- September EP. Songs from this EP were featured on Buffy The vampire slayer and received national airplay on college radio. The band toured across the country with this music.

LIFT- Lifelike - This CD of 10 songs was released on Daemon Records in 1997 and was critically acclaimed. Also the band toured nationally with the Indigo Girls in support of this CD.

LIFT- Stellar: this CD was the debut of Molly Bancroft's first and some could say "best" group of songs - very often compared to Aimee Mann's work and Sarah McLachlan/Suzanne Vega stylings.

LIFT: Birds Fly Free - 7" single on T/K records that started it all! "Walk Away" was played regularly on WFNX radio in Boston.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Molly Bancroft started her career in music at age 11 as a top jazz saxophone player in her hometown of Traverse City, Michigan. Eager to switch gears away from sax, after school, she headed to Boston (after some crazy moves across the country in between) to test out her songwriting and singing in the "big city." Boston's thriving folk and rock scenes in the early '90s inspired Molly to not only play music, but hear bands from all over the world, and play with groups of diverse musicians, including some of the top folkies at the time. After meeting Andy Hong who was a DJ and engineer at MIT's radio station, Molly formed her first rock band with his help in 1992. Together, they gathered up some talented friends who MIT jazz ensemble's rhythm section and jumped into the studio to cut the first demos. The "band" was spontaneously named "Lift" after the feeling of being "uplifted" after those long recording sessions, and the soaring feeling of the music. Lift released a 7" single "Walk Away" (Tim Kerr Records) gaining Molly her first national airplay and her first gigs in Boston (using a Marshall amp!)

After a stint working at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and sneaking in the studio to do various projects, Molly decided to hunt down a drummer and bassist and get LIFT off the ground again, after her first bandmates had moved away to attend graduate school. However, after a long frustrating search, on a hunch, Molly headed South to the warm organic music scene in Atlanta, Georgia. Never having been in the South, Molly found herself quickly at home, and within a month she and her new bandmates were in the studio recording Lift's first album "Stellar," featuring the best songs Molly had written during her years in Boston.

Lift resulted in three critically praised albums; "Stellar", "Lifelike" and "September EP". Touring nationally, Lift shared the stage with artists' such as Indigo Girls, Guadalcanal Diary, and the Wild Colonials. During this end of Lift's touring and recording, Molly's influences began to shift. She was listening to Outkast, Meshell, dance groups like Chicane, Underworld, and the alternative rock genre had gotten stale to her ears. She returned to her jazz roots and started experimenting with grooves and textures in her own songwriting, finding inspiration from disparate musical genres.

In 2002 her decision to begin her solo career expanding on these sounds and ideas that she'd captured during that time. After connecting with a friend who helped her realize her potential as a producer as well as songwriter/performer, her new album "Get Closer" has kickstarted a new chapter of Molly's music making. The sound continues to evolve into a kaleidoscope of dance, rock and jazz. Her talents bring sophisticated and poetic lyrics to her innovative rhythms and melodies creating a journey for your spirit. Her uniquely deep yet powerful voice is reminiscent of a more rocking Sarah McLachlan and packs the attitude of Chrissie Hynde. "Get Closer" is a masterful display of Molly's talents as a musician and songwriter while bringing more attentionto her strong and soaring voice that has drawn her to success in the past.