review

Sarah Slean – The Baroness Review

Sarah Slean returns with new album “The Baroness”, 12 new songs and the long awaited follow up to “Day One”.
“Hopeful Hearts” opens with guitars however not pianos although they do join the foray later in the song. Immediately you realise the production and instrumentation of her earlier work is back. There’s no electronic blips and drum loops this time. The opener sounds tragic and dramatic. “Get Home” is a piano led ballad that is soft and warm at the same time with the string arrangments and Sarah’s soaring vocals making it great. “Euphoria” isn’t quite as bouncy as the title suggests but it definitely has rhythm but once again it’s defiantly softer than say “Bank Accounts” although it’s very catchy.
“Goodnight Trouble” is very jazz cabaret in places albeit very heartfelt with some brass adding more layers to the sound pallet. “Notes From The Underground” again shows acoustic guitar, piano and vocals all in harmony with a beautiful chorus.
“Sound of Water/ Change Your Mind” brings a nice change of pace and tone with a rich dark fast paced track which is a real highlight of the album. In contrast “No Place At All” is a quiet, slow ballad sounding like something Vienna Teng would do. “Please Be Good To Me”sounds dreamy but also like a classic 150 year old folk song too. Very beautiful, very familiar. “Willow” follows the same pattern while “So Many Miles” is a nice up-tempo song that could quite easily find regular airplay.
“Shadowland” is a very downbeat track that stands out due to the whispering male voice in the background and the eerie organ playing. The album closes with “Looking For Someone” a beautiful, almost gospel-like piano/vocal track.
This album will be a grower. I’ve played it just the once and I believe the tight, clean, samey production from song to song doesn’t let each song shine but the melodies are there and Sarah’s vocal/musical talent has defiantly┬á not gone away. It just may take a few plays to notice each track individually.

4 comments

  1. Thank you for doing this review, it’s just about the only review around of the CD and right now amazon has a great deal on it so I think I’ll add it to my order. I’m glad that there is more piano and less electronics. The titles of the tracks alone have intrigued me!

  2. Certainly on the mark about the production, the album seems to echo more Sarah Harmer, but less heartbreak than anything Slean has released before. As expected however, an unchanging artist is a forgotten one.

    The real standout tracks that quickly found a home for me are Looking for Someone, an earnest, available song, if not altogether cleverly penned, and Sound of Water, which you described quite well. I would add that for those of us daunted by the sudden electric quartet vibe of Day One, The Baroness is a more comfortable, accesable Sarah, without (unfortunately?) quite as much raw emotion as her earliest releases.

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