Friday, January 7, 2011

Down Under Diamond

Every now and again, an artist comes along that you’ve been waiting for. I guess you could say I was patiently and unknowingly waiting to hear Sarah Blasko.

Living with one, sometimes two, sometimes four (with one comes many) Australians, they quickly picked up on the type of music that I insisted on playing throughout the house. They introduced me to all sorts of Australian artists including John Williamson (an Australian comedic folk legend) and their version of cheesy 90s Aussie-rock hits – but nothing that made me wonder, “Where has this been all along?”

Until they put on Sarah. The first song was all I needed to feel hooked, to feel divinely linked to her voice and happily at home in her lullabies. This Ingrid Michaelson, Sarah Slean-resembling fairy princess is pretty and melodic, but also intriguing and obviously clever in her ideas. Her songs – instrumental and relateable performances – play as if they’re set out to soothe the youth of the world with waltzy, majestic words that fly over you like a clean white sheet cast overtop a freshly-made bed. When I first heard her music, I felt like meandering across the globe freely with a pen, paper and open mind.

Simply Sarah

Blasko was born in Sydney and began recording in the mid-90s, only finally making homeland splashes in 2007 with her debut album What the Sea Wants the Sea Will Have. Her album As Day Follows Night is a more progressive type of indie-folk pop that casts a spell on even the most uninterested and protected of hearts with its promenading sleepy ballads and playful ditties. Her sidewalk-storytelling persona and simplistic vocal beauty reminds me not only of the previously mentioned gals, but also of American indie-sweetheart Meiko, who's known for her earnest persona and shy voice. My bond with Blasko may be freshly sealed, but it’s immediately serious because of the breathtaking intimacy I experienced when I first listened to the opening track off her newest album.

The song “Down on Love” is a dream you don’t really want to wake up from – a formula of celestial toy-piano and uncorrupted, silky vocals uttering existential reassurance to humans everywhere that their heart and faith need not be broken. Her advice - although resembling that which we’ve probably been told by our parents, friends, and guidance counselors many times before - hold a new meaning and hard-to-ignore truth when paired with the sweet sauntering of the song’s instruments. Something about this song, and what Blasko says, makes it impossible not to believe and be inspired by the voice behind the lyrics.

The song "All I Want", is equally compelling with its smoky and young sound, piping Western-sounding strings and rolling percussion. Similarities to Michaelson and Regina Spektor's frolicking, bass-driven croons, "We Won't Run" is a catchy pop piece of sunshine. A surprisingly cute and versatile moment is heard on Blasko's cover of Outkast's "Hey Ya!", showing us that her sultry rasp is a secret weapon pulled out when we've gotten comfortable with her as the non-threatening cherub.

Hopefully Blasko will soon make the trek to North America and we can think about keeping her forever as yet the latest Aussie addition to my household. But in the mean time, if you ever need some sweet and flowery uplifting, or if you just want to hear undeniably precious music, please pick up both albums from this adorably talented creature. Or for starters, just listen to this:

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