The gestation period of a goose is 28 days. Mol Sullivan’s first album, Goose, needed to gestate a bit longer. Quite a bit longer, 15 years to be exact. She had to deal with a decade-long affair, not with a man but with alcohol. Along the way she became a new person, which effected everything else. It also made her quite an effective songwriter, rather than using her heartbreaks as a form of inspiration, she works on composing as a means of conversation, a dialogue between herself and her music.
Sullivan has a way with words, that much is certain. It’s tough not to like a song like ‘Still Tryin’’ where she turns phrases to spectacular effect, “One last cigarette, and I am out of here/ A flicker of red dеcay/ Tell me one morе joke, I’ll smile if I can/And be your personal ashtray.” Life may be messy, but that’s how tend things to work. Played out against the sound of acoustic guitars, bass and drums with a chorus of voices, it goes down so smoothly the lyrics almost come as a surprise.
In other places songs swirl on steel guitars like ‘Cannonball’, piano, not to mention the clarinet counter melodies on ‘Like This Now’. It’s fascinating work, with the music being as subtly complex as Sullivan’s lyrics. ‘Goose’ features this revealing text, “am I a swan or just a goose/ I’d bet the latter, grab my purse/ it’s not so difficult a choice/ between a joker and a fool/ without giving them a voice/ do you want an ocean or a pool?” She also captures how attempting to live a sober life requires unlearning patterns of behaviour that simply don’t work anymore if they ever really worked in the first place.
“Why’s it gotta be so hard?” Sullivan asks on ‘Eggshells’. Relationships, friendships, in many ways it’s just the same. How do you go about being supportive without succumbing to the same emotional turmoil? How do you get someone to see what you see so clearly? When she sings, “We all wanna see you happy, though you’ve becomе quite salty/ Manufactured truths to send us all to hell, or better, Cincinnati,” she’s more than a bit tongue in cheek, yet the dance of friendship also requires a level of honesty that one might prefer not to expose.
With a voice that ranges from the territory of Kate Bush to something much lower and smokier, Mol Sullivan is finding her way through the minefields of life. Goose is a testament not only to her abilities as a survivor, but her willingness to deal with the naked honesty of the person she is today and the pathways that led her here. By turns bold and brave, to go along with tempestuous and terrified, Goose lays it all on the line with remarkable honesty.