Monday, March 24, 2008

The Baroness - Sarah Slean

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Female singer-songwriters are ten a penny in 2008 so it would be tempting to dismiss Sarah Slean merely on this point. Slean, however, has been plying her trade for over 10 years and this is her fifth studio album.

One listen to The Baroness is enough to both tell you why she's lasted so long and why you've probably never heard of her.

Her voice is pretty wonderful and she's more than a decent songwriter and on occasions, like on the really rather good Please Be Good To Me, she soars to beautiful heights. The sad thing is that a lot of the album doesn't come close to matching that emotion.

Lyrically there is a lot to admire on the album (and certainly enough to suggest that there is some cruel force at work which leaves fellow Canadian Sarah McLachlan feted worldwide and Slean herself virtually ignored) but the tunes just don't match up.

What's more, the album ignores the upbeat perky pop that I most enjoy about her (the superlative Day One) in favour of more contemplative melodies.

All in all it's not a terrible album, but neither is it the great one that I believe Slean could deliver. Maybe next time hey?

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