Sarah Blasko, The Overture & The Underscore

The-Overture-The-Underscore-coverSarah Blasko
The Overture & The Underscore
(Low Altitude/Dew Process)

Coming across as a much more intense Sarah McLachlan or a less silly Dido, Sarah Blasko revels in singing long notes on her new album, The Overture & The Underscore. Blasko’s voice is huskier than either woman and it is pushed to the front of the mix. Its grit and the big notes focus the listener’s attention. Often you may find yourself unaware of the accompaniment in the songs.

Blasko’s voice is certainly the most enchanting element of her sound, but upon repeated listenings, the simplicity and variety of the instrumentation becomes apparent. In “At Your Best,” a short break introduces a horn section that’s surprising only if you notice it. Otherwise, it fits perfectly into the slow, even composition of the song.

“Counting Sheep” makes great use of adding instruments to build up the song’s emotions. Every turn into a verse or chorus gives a simple change. Whether it’s a piano in one and a guitar in the next, each change pulls you deeper into the song and Blasko’s warm voice.

Oddly, the simple repetitions of the very ordinary acoustic instruments that Blasko employs give the music a sort of droney, electronic quality. Because no instrument solos or draws attention to itself, the songs are trance-like. No abrupt changes, no loud to soft dynamics, just perfect focus on Sarah’s beautiful voice make this an ideal record for headphones.

[This review appeared in All the Rage.]