Saramai popped onto my radar last year with her simple but well crafted melodies. With her 2016 EP “Magnetic North” she continues to tease and intrigue me with the same premise, wrapping simple piano melodies, whimsical vocals and gentle nods to 80’s rock in some parts.
“Hanging Around” is a song of two alter egos. The verses are beautiful piano and vocal sections. There’s a hint of blues and jazz behind the production and you think you have it covered and then the chorus changes tact completely into a bossa nova rock. In comes guitar and drums and Saramai’s vocal gets rowdy and shouty as she channels a T’Pau like vocal that then immediately softens when the verse ends to a soothing ooh. It’s the interesting takes on songs that keep you entertained with the theatrical “Trees” with rolling cymbals and guitar harmonics before it moves into a pagan-like rock section between the washing waves of ivory and metal. It’s genuinely a unique mix of sounds – part indie raj, part slumber rock and to find freshness in the world of music is great. “Heavenly” treads a more familiar line with piano, echoing Chris Rea style guitar and a beautiful vocal performance showing the tender side of Saramai off best, really hitting home. There is something childlike about the delivery of the whole thing that’s sweet and endearing but I’m not sure it’s entirely intention as the high vocal angelic register falters and waivers off key. “Ships” closes the album with a short and broody Amanda Palmer like cabaret piano rock number. I really dig this vibe and because the EP as a whole has a smashes up production to it where everything is bleeding sound wise into each other it really works to the EP’s advantage here.
Saramai’s “Magnetic North” feels like a smattering of different types of Saramai trying to find her voice. The production is really reverb heavy and it works against the record in the bigger sections, as does some of the off key vocal nuances that are hit and miss depending on the track and feel she’s going for. This is a secret find for those who enjoy Baroque Pop – you’ll get the most out of it. For everyone else, I think if Saramai’s next effort is more channelled and audio balanced it could be a new find for many.
Recommended Track : Ships