Merival
Either Side EP

Either Side is a mark of perseverance in the face of uncertainty and evidence of the value in unconfined expression.

Either Side is like a wandering mind: at times aimless but never idle. Toronto artist Merival explores the fragility of the human condition, moving between calm and calamity. Gliding through momentary landings in phrase and pitch alike, Anna Horvath’s voice leaps and falls in a dance of inner thoughts. 

The first song, “Patience”, pays homage to the untracked space between thought and emotion, beginning with acceptance in the phrase, “I know that I must continue searching in my own mind”. Carrying this vulnerability throughout Either Side, Merival demonstrates that it is okay to be on either side of the search, or somewhere in between. 

Horvath’s voice is ethereal and light, lending Either Side a transient aesthetic. The instability felt in the tonal and formal structure sets a mood that many of us can relate to in the uncertain times of the pandemic; although heightened in our isolation bubbles, overactive thinkers commonly feel acute unrest accompanying unanswered questions. Both contemplative and adventurous, Merival gives voice to the truth that a swing off-course is but a step away.

Delving deeper into introspection on “Me and My Friends”, Horvath asks the question, “is there supposed to be some value to what you do all day?” Like many of the big questions in life, Horvath’s demands are answered with more wondering in the line, “me and my mind are at war half the time and I wonder if there’s another way”. Resting only a moment at a time, Horvath’s voice embodies the impermanence of structure and the beauty in wandering. 

Merival holds up a mirror to the unknown, encouraging acceptance and discovery through one’s darkest thoughts. In perhaps my favourite line of the EP, Merival considers both sides to the unknown: “Imagine if I actually knew how much good there was in the world”. While our minds might tend toward the dark side of the unknown, we are but a step away from a brighter imagining. Either Side is a mark of perseverance in the face of uncertainty and evidence of the value in unconfined expression.

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