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Sara Lowes – ‘The Joy of Waiting’ Review

Hammond organs are in this season
Sara Lowes
Sara Lowes

Sara Lowes’ review has been waiting a long time to come so I’m delighted to say the album is a joy! Pun complete – let’s go home… in all seriousness however Sara Lowes’ album is one of the more intriguing and interesting albums’ I’ve come across in 2015.

You see, Sara expresses the Joy of Waiting throughout the album by taking on different song structures and guises to keep you guessing on the tracks intent. Take the titular song which opens the album. The seven minute piece opens with a string, bass guitar and piano melody that sounds like a French circus wanting to go to a rock concert. After that the more vicious rock side barks out with hammond organs and electric guitars before fading into the actual song itself which borrows from both the previous suites but has its own melodic sound. It swirls around out in n unusual time signature and harks back to the 70’s with its psychedelic elements because the guitar harmonics just keep on going. It’s a lovely track and the one that follows “I Find You”, shares some of the 70’s vibe with the hammond organs rocking the soul out of it and the hip bass line is mighty fine too. However this is all about strutting the drums with flair and letting Sara use her hypnotic vocal delivery to slowly sing the lyrics in a siren like way. Again it keeps you waiting for big fanfare pay offs, but its a slinky number.

“J.B Priestley” turns things into a jazzier affair in this piano led track. There’s an element of Karen Carpenter here with the smooth and sweet voice delivery and the electric piano and guitar just emphasis that era of music. Even the production feels warm like the vinyl pressings. “Bright Day” interestingly takes the piano and strings and then gives the same instruments a more modern-day feel. The ballad is a slow burning beauty and when the brass is added in for the final effects there’s a slight moment where Sara’s hushed voice really captivates you before the final explosion of music. It’s a corker without immediately having a hook – each listen it grows more and more on you. The switch to rocking guitar riffs and rolling tom drums for “Chapman of Rhymes” sweeps you up for a crunchy stop/start affair. Again the wait is to let all the instruments hit their stride together and this is a theme common throughout the album.

“WIth A Mirror” sees the organs and bass take over for a song that’s swimming in so much gospel organ that the other instruments take a secondary place. Even when it has its instrumental jam bridges, the organs are jamming just as hard. It’s almost like it foreshadows the ethereal opening to “Little Fishy” with a beautiful vocal arrangement before the funky main track bursts in. Sara has a knack for some really good lyrics and here’s my personal favourites with “On the end of my line, little fishy of mine – heading straight to my plate”. It’s fun, and the mood of the track itself switches from really catchy to almost biblical – yet somehow Lowes makes it all gel excellently. This track is my favourite on the album.

“For the Seasons” however is a close second. A piano ballad that see’s Lowes channel her Kate Bush and Sarah McLachlan at the same time, there’s a bit of both here and I appreciate that the track is unhurried and it gives everything more depth and soul. It is simply beautiful from start to end. “Cutting Room Floor” takes the interesting stance of basing the song around a single note being held across several instruments and then working around it. What starts off almost like an echoing chant builds itself into an organ rock track. It’s unusual in its structure and continues to show Sara is always willing to try new things. “The Clock Plays It’s Game” takes the piano as the tick tock and let’s it chime its chords. The light string infused number is pretty and warming. The production focuses on that fuzziness and so when all the strings and drums are going for the big bang, it doesn’t feel like a big bang but more of a swelling of emotions. It’s funny because “Horizons” is the only three-minute track and it bursts in with catchy brass and organ hooks and wastes no time. It’s like the circus returns to put you out your misery with a joyous tune of release.

Sara Lowes’ Joy seems to come from the build up, the waiting itself in the song and rarely does she go straight to the hook. She is unconventional, trapped in a time bubble from the 70’s whilst stealing some modern-day tricks and clearly enjoying every minute of it. Never boring and always branching off, Sara make a bold statement of intent with this album and we salute it.

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