Look Both Ways is indie singer-songwriter Olivia Millerschin’s her third album, and follows up her 2014 EP, Over The Weather. In that time her face and voice may have become much more recognizable to those in the US. She was a quarter-finalist on America’s Got Talent. Along with that accomplishment, she also won the 2014 John Lennon Songwriter Contest. Look Both Ways proves why she deserved those honors.
The 9 song album opens with ‘Hollow’, starting with a slow build up, the song gives you a taste of the push and pull of sound on Look Both Ways. There’s piano, orchestral strings, punchy drums, and a digital sounding pulsing bass that would sound out of place if a lesser musician was composing. Then there’s standout track ‘Rather Stay’, which is quintessential feel-good pop, featuring fluttering electro blips and happy strings, while Olivia’s voice twirls around. It’s the kind of song you might listen to and imagine yourself dancing in a commercial, eliciting the perfect summer day, bounding in an out of shops with friends.
It also features ‘When’, her duet with 2015 The Voice winner Sawyer Fredericks. The sunny ukulele creates the shadows of the lyrics; “I know that you’re angry/ There’s no use explaining/ Why I ran away.” The best contrast comes in the vocals; Sawyer has a wavering baritone that purposefully creates a rocky foundation, while Olivia’s voice finds a way to become the anchor while gliding over those rough patches.
Listening to Look Both Ways, it is easy to understand how Olivia Millerschin won a songwriting award. Her lyrics are relatable, and just as importantly her melodies are top-notch. There is a familiarity in her sound that brings you comfort; there’s no overly dramatic moments, which gives this a unique feel for a pop album. Olivia relies on her keen ear for hooks and melodies that seep into you, not play at you. Look Both Ways is a comfy sweater in the best possible way.