Monday, 29 October 2012

New Music Monday #29

I Awake (Album)
by Sarah Blasko

I know what you're thinking. Sarah Blasko + a Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra + the Slavey Folklore vocal quartet is a definite recipe for success. Well congratulations Einstein... you've got it all figured out don't you? Yes, the enigmatic Sarah Blasko makes her grand solo return with fourth studio album, I Awake. This self-produced modern masterpiece (yep, went there) is the mind-blowing blend of realised ambition, hauntingly beautiful cinematic orchestration and the already perfected musical stylings of the Blasko. I Awake thankfully isn't a massive departure from her last LP, As Day Follows Night. Instead, she appears to have taken the greatest elements of her previous work, combined them with her fine-tuned lyrical work from last year's Seeker Lover Keeper stint and amplified everything to a dramatically beautiful effect. 

Case in point, track three - 'Bury This.' The light flamenco influences make way for the slowly rising strings that hit a 'stop and reflect on their magnificence' peak as the track finishes. Blasko's vocals float amongst the music, building alongside the strings in a partnership. When she sings of how, "in a foreign land we'll start again, we'll start again once more," you know where you'd rather be. 'God-Fearing' takes the 'enough is enough' theme of As Day Follows Night's 'Lost and Defeated' and throws the message into hyperdrive. "I'm not beaten down, I won't behave, just listen this once or you will rue this day." Pay attention, nothing to rue. Remember that. Cinema Blasko featured Sarah tackling some of her favourite film songs, capturing her penchant for creating a delicious cinematic feel within her music. With the power of a fifty-two piece orchestra backing her, she takes this even further by giving off a certain old-Hollywood vibe through the music. Listen to 'Here' and you won't be able to shake the feeling that you're watching a wonderful film from days gone by. "A moment mends a broken heart, if you'd only known it from the start, the moments form just who we are, you were always here." The movie's a tearjerker, a guaranteed Oscar winner. 

Blasko saves the most breathtaking tracks for the second half of I Awake. 'Here' starts us off, leading into the somewhat devastating/sublime tale of a relationship doomed for failure from the start, 'Illusory Light.' The tightening in my chest as Blasko reveals, "I knew exactly what this would feel like, to hear the same voice that said 'hello' say 'goodbye'," is one of those sure signs of ingenious songwriting. Another track of defiance, the extremely relatable 'Fool' follows. Everyone has been stuck in that situation where they've gotten over feeling like a sucker for someone or something and they just get to that possibly life changing point when they make sure it doesn't happen again. As if carrying on the narrative of 'Fool' to its natural conclusion, 'Cast The Net' tells us that it's never too late to say goodbye, to move on, to start again. This could actually be Sarah Blasko's most stunning song; what seems to be a simple ballad that becomes a triumphant anthem for those ready to move on. The words, the music... I don't know how Blasko still finds ways to leave you surprised at how fantastic she is. 

Another week, another winning album from an incredible Australian artist. Sarah Blasko continues to be a creative, unique and ambitious musical force that goes from strength to strength with each new project. From her debut, The Overture and The Underscore to What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have, As Day Follows Night, Seeker Lover Keeper and now I Awake she has literally become better with every release. By that logic, I Awake is her best album yet. I'm a pretty logical guy. Her best album yet, a must-listen and somewhat unsurprisingly, one of the best albums of the year. Maybe even the best. But it wouldn't have taken Einstein to tell you that.

Matt Bond gives I Awake five Nick Cave's out of five...

Backstreet Freestyle
by Kendrick Lamar
Album: good kid mAAd city (2012)


From Kendrick Lamar’s latest album ‘good kid, m.A.A.d. city’ which was released last week and a late contender for the ‘worst lyric of the year’ award, ‘Backstreet Freestyle’ contains the line “I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel tower, so I can fuck the world for 72 hour”. One head seems too many.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Backstreet Freestyle' zero Invisible Man's out of five...


Mr. Frosty Man
by Sufjan Stevens

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Sufjan Stevens and although I’m happy to admit I love me a bit of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ Mariah style at a certain time of the year, I’m not a big fan of the pop/rock/indie/r’n’b Christmas song either. What I am a fan of is zombies and awesome music clips. How does this all relate? Press play on Sufjan Stevens ‘Mr Frosty Man’ and everything will become crystal clear. It’s probably going to be my fave Christmas release of the year. Nuclear reactors, zombies, Santa, chainsaws and lots of gore; it’s like Halloween meets Christmas. Is there anything not to like?

Jo Michelmore gives 'Mr. Frosty Man' three Karen O's out of five...

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