152 King's Road
Blood Siren, her major-label debut, captures Sarah’s haunted moan, a sound that both chills and touches the heart. The songs, which she wrote, are as intimate and unguarded as diary entries. 'I don’t like who I am/Who I’ve been/Or who I’ll be … Dear mamma, there’s no one left but you to pray/You to pray for me.' Her lyrics, according to music journalist Brett Milano, 'are a survivor’s testimony, full of references to dashed hopes and lost friendships and delivered with gritty determination.' At times her imagery is as lush and vivid as William Faulkner’s: 'It was the breath of sweet olive trees/Steeped through summer’s heat/As they heave their breath into the street/And dangle from the feet of bees.'
Producers Chilly Gonzales and Renaud Letang create a stark midnight atmosphere. There’s Sarah on piano and guitar, touches of cello and celesta, some electronic sounds, and plenty of silence, along with a voice that sounds just as it does when she’s alone in her room. All this rawness is a world away from the Auto-Tuned, robotic gloss of contemporary pop.