Raising The Bar For Modern Pop Music With a Neat Retro Kick or Two.
My usual listening procedures for reviewing albums is to stick them on the iPhone and then listen on my morning walks.
Nobody talking away in the background.
Two or three listens of the whole album and I can commit to print.
As I was knocking up the first draft of this album review I was actually playing it on my PC when my wife wandered in to ask; who it was as ‘she has a dead catchy voice’ – praise indeed as it’s fair to say our musical tastes are at opposite end of the music spectrum!
On this occasion she was right, as Sarah has a ‘dead canny voice’ and has put out a ‘dead canny album’.
For non North East of England readers ‘canny’ is an all encompassing word meaning an array of things; but in this instance it means ‘really jolly good’.
I had enjoyed Sarah’s first album ‘Love In The Milky Way’ and it had certainly done well in her homeland of Sweden as a Grammy winner and a chart topping artiste; and then following that up with the equally successful ‘Creamy Blue’ which had led to her being added to a First Aid Kit tour.
The opener ‘27 Pounds’ rattles in with a real bang as she immediately hits the listener with her very quirky vocals; while the electro/drum backing hits the tight notes – a mix of an older pop track with a modern twist; and it is followed by a very catchy ‘Fever Dream’ with an infectious beat to lead us to know this isn’t going to be a simple ‘sit back and listen’ set – much more like a musical slap in the face.
Sarah admits to a love of 60’s and 70’s pop and this demonstrated at its best on track 3 ‘Canyon’ with its neat American twist; and for me, the high spot of the first half of the album.
The guitars are a throwback to those 60’s hits we know and love; with the jangling guitars taking it all it down a notch on ‘Anywhere;’ where the Americana feeling comes through at its best. Song delivery and backing hitting a perfect twosome.
This is vintage sixties pop at its best, from ‘the saddest girl in Sweden’ and it’s rare to hear nowadays an album that sets the bar early on and then manages to raise it again and again, as the tracks roll by with the first drop of a few notches with ‘Girls’ – a sad piece of a relationship where no matter what, it’s the same mistakes that control the relationship.
A very sad song and beautifully delivered.
If you like strident guitars and a different type of vocal, ‘Ghost Killer’ is the one for you – certainly a song that would not be out of place on a Ward Thomas or First Aid Kit set.
‘If I was a ghost killer I would set you free’.
Even on the must softer and more laid back tracks like ‘Spell’ I feel Sarah Klang’s delivery and her quirky voice (in a nice way) are spot on to retain the standards set from the first few bars.
As we approach the final tracks there is again a more measured sound on ‘Love So Cruel’ and ‘Love Blues;’ where the gentler guitars and the production of Kevin Anderson dovetail on a gentle and haunting backing.
The aptly named ‘The End’ brings a smashing album to a delightful finale – another nod to the 80’s to complete an album to be proud of.
If there is any justice this album should bring Sarah to the notice of music lovers that may have previously been out in the cold.
An excellent album and a pleasure to have had the opportunity to bring it to the attention of others.
There are literally loads of high quality female artists and albums out at present – but add I recommend that you add Sarah Klang to that list – it will certainly get me through a good few more walks.
Reviewed by Bill ‘Two Jabs’ Redhead
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