With nods to bands like Nada Surf and artists like Matthew Sweet — whose 1995 album 100% Fun was Murray’s motivating factor in picking up a guitar — Fragile State is an amalgam of everything that makes us essentially human. Not in an existential, hard-to-reach kinda way, but more in the vein of simply being alive and hoping for a better future. The ’90s influence is definitely present across the record; opener “Second to Last” shows shades of Aimee Mann and Shawn Colvin (its lyrics even mention flannel shirts), while “Pretend” and “One More Mile” fall into grunge/ballad territory — not a bad place to be.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/194010450″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
Not to imply that the entire record is total throwback, although the mysterious “Masquerade Waltz” falls against an intriguing 3/4 tempo (no surprise there given the title) and creates a timeless, enchanting sound that’s wholly modern. Other standouts are the fuzzy, psychedelic-tinged “Why Try”; “Overcome,” which recalls the vibe of “Waltz” in its classical influence and heavy string presence; and the questioning closer “Total Loss,” in which Murray ponders what’s to come. Well, Lindsay, if your first record is any indication, only good things.