Sarah McGuinness

Unbroken

(G&T Records/Right Track Records)

This new set of songs from cultural explorer McGuinness has a vibe all its own, conjuring up a kaleidoscope of filmic images – monochrome and Technicolour. Maybe not surprising given Sarah’s background and love of cinema as well as music and we delve into this with her in an imminent conversation piece. A superb set of musicians have worked on the album content and ensured that each cut has a flavour of its own, with deft use of percussion and particularly swirling string arrangements that leave you humming the melodies in the wake of a listen. The record hangs together well, mixing lighthearted moments with sombre tales and with the overall message that employing a bit of backbone will carry anyone through life’s various encounters. Has all the love been punched out of this lady ? the final conclusion has to be..not yet!

 

Glad You’re Gone dances in on strings and a pronounced European nightclub tempo, McGuinness adopting a conspiratorial vocal over a John Barry progression before an irresistible chorus takes over. Disco bass and pattering bongo’s enhance the night-time ambience. Infernally catchy, but rather than Bassey-style melodrama the lyric is delivered as a story not a pronouncement. That drummer sure has a grip on this one and the chorale is rich indeed.

 

Wake Up And See has an automated steadiness and that subterranean bass kills. Again the singing avoids shoutiness and melody just gets to you. The heady strings sit well over the main mix. Miss You has a pronounced film noir strings start and an eerie sound, bass heavy with crisp drumming. Such a shadowy sound, a 3-D mix and the vocal left clear to weave its way into your consciousness. Obvious employs a gorgeous skipping beat and a sensual vocal with echoes of vintage Peggy Lee. A beautiful tune, one of the best in the programme. Slight delay on the piano figures create a haunting sound. Claves underline the sway of the rhythm.

 

Don’t Let Our Love Go takes an old r&b swing to achieve a sub-Motown feel, another addictive tune though it threaten to topple into S Club 7 here and there..aaarrgh ! What Do I Do coasts into earshot, with that Bond-Zhivago ambience to the fore and the strings at their warmest. The tune sounds Italian. Pack Up Your Bags as a title hints at the forceful and the song lopes along with the drums given fee rein to emphasise the roll of the changes. Full-blooded horns are used to great effect and it really swings. Kiss You Better and its toybox keys readily attains a spooky mood, accentuated reverb on the vocal and a hint of flanging. Music for a winter’s day.

No Tears is the track that has really grabbed my insides, the soft chorale intro sells the listener a dummy til the pumping beat asserts itself. Slivers of strings slide in and out like a pike lurking in the reeds. What a great Bond theme this could be, just needs some tremelo’d baritone electric guitar…and I’m cheap!

 

The Bonus Tracks on my edition are No More Sad Songs – Soundtrack Mix with its misty mountain intro and charming poetic lyrics and children’s chorus.  Finally an acoustic strings mix of No Tears with dreamy singing. Quite lovely.

 

Love lost, regretted, enjoyed and retained..it’s all here, you romantic types. And if it gets to dead-heart here, it will surely hook you. Resistance is futile and better still we can look forward to the continuation of a series of video vignettes enhancing each of the songs, those completed thus far being beguiling to say the least. (Will the gifted earrings feature ?…..)

 

Pete Sargeant



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(Thanks to Sam, Sarah, Babylon)

You can watch the official music video for her Christmas single here: http://bit.ly/2jd4k2G

Sarah McGuinness’  debut album ‘Unbroken’ is out now on G&T Records / Right Track Records.

You can purchase the album here: http://amzn.to/2BaRZUg

For more information visit her official website here: http://bit.ly/2AVEunv

Sarah McGuinness