Photo Credit Emily Dennison
There is no other way of saying it, the voice of Sara Lowes is sheer mesmerism, an inescapable siren drawing the listener into adventures which musically transfixes ears and imagination just as potently. Her new album The Joy Of Waiting, is complete evidence of the fact, basking in these bewitching elements and in turn immersing the listener in charming and imaginatively charmed embraces. The successor to her acclaimed debut Back To Creation of 2011, The Joy Of Waiting is a quite simply a soul mate for anyone with a taste of melodic and harmonic alchemy.
Based in Manchester and North East bred, Lowes is the keyboardist in The Earlies and has working with the likes of Daniel Johnston, King Creosote, Jens Lakeman, Jim Noir, Jesca Hoop, and Dawn Landes on her CV. Her music draws on a diverse maze of flavours and styles, classically bred arrangements entwining and invigorating essences from progressive rock to pop, jazz to seventies psychedelia, and more besides. First album Back To Creation, as mentioned drew potent praise and support which The Joy Of Waiting can only emulate and reap greater rewards upon itself. Inspired by J.B Priestley, with a track using his name as a title, and looking at “observations on our perplexing relationships with time”, the lady’s new full-length is a spell of beauty and evocative reflections, and quite breath-taking.
The album’s title track starts things off and immediately is flirting with gypsy folk like strings which swirl provocatively around ears and emotions, their colourful expression joined by just as picturesque keys and melodies. There is a baroque like scent to the piece of music too, an older drama which wraps around the more fiery and sultry climate which emerges as the song continues revealing its heated landscape. Eventually the song drifts away and within a swift taking of a breath, the album swings straight back as Most Things and a riveting pop contagion which is soon dancing with the compelling tones of Lowes its puppeteer. The track is a ridiculously infectious kiss, a quite magnificent encounter courting sixties beat pop vivacity as fizzy tendrils of carnival-esque keys sport a creativity which reminds of The Stranglers Dave Greenfield.
Lowes has a voice which is hard to compare to another, though on the first songs and a few others tracks, she bears a resemblance to Brighton singer songwriter Cate Ferris, the following new single I Find You another blissful example. The song is a smoulder of thickly simmering melodies and enchanting harmonies over a great distortion kissed rhythmic tempting. Keys again bring psyche spinning enterprise to spice up the song’s enthralling canvas, whilst the ethereal radiance of voice and surrounding sweltering sounds merge like a mix of Solar Halos and The Capsules. It is pure creative majesty and has ears and appetite enslaved by the time it makes way for the courtly hug of JB Priestley. Lowes straight away has ears and pleasure cupped as orchestral spices back her sunny presence, the opening gentle lure a passage into a feistier but no less radiant stroll of warm jazz seeded pop catchiness. As across all songs, there is a tapestry of different flavours and styles colluding in their support of the vocals, each song as here, as unpredictable as it is immediately accessible and magnetic.
The intimate balladry of Bright Day smooches with the senses next, its refined texture and voice a warm glaze over ears, even if not quite igniting them as its predecessors do. That success, is sublimely achieved by Chapman Of Rimes, a seventies bloomed pop rock flight with celestial harmonies and bold hooks under a blaze of brass seduction, and even more so right after by the excellent With A Mirror. The opening lure of bass and keys with rolling rhythms is enough to seduce unbridled attention for the new song, helped all the more by the vocal hints which whisper within the sultry enticement and rays of brass bred sunshine which light up ears. Like being lost in your lover’s arms, the song strokes and infuses body and thoughts with a romancing croon of voice and sound. That alone would be enough to wax lyrical about the song but with unpredictable and superbly infused twists of ideation amidst wrong-footing turns, the song is a master-class in songwriting and aural theatre.
Given the hard task to follow such a triumph is Little Fishy, and it makes easy work of keeping enjoyment clasped. From a celestial yet intimate soundscape cast by wistful keys and harmonies, the song emerges as something akin to progressive rock and lounge/electro pop, weaving its own virulent aural carnival.
The quiet reflection of For The Seasons calms things down next, the captivation a haunting ballad with a 10CC breeze to its air, before Cutting Room Floor slips into ears and simply radiates elegance and beauty whilst adding further fascinating diversity and invention to The Joy Of Waiting. The song is a gorgeous soar of melodic enterprise setting up the listener enthusiastically for the final pair of songs which are seemingly placed in different order on the physical and digital copy of the album.
The Clock Plays It’s Game provides a melancholic temptation which blossoms with the dark and light suggestiveness of strings against the just as potent call of Lowes’ voice and classically dramatic keys. Maybe not as immediately impacting as other songs, it is a lingering kiss increasing its stature with every listen, whilst Horizons is a track which just lifts emotions and spirit with sublime craft and open relish. Its swirl of hooks and melodies is a gala of folk pop smiles and sixties pop merry making and quite sensational. Whether the last song on the album or not, we suggest you make it that anyway as you leave its company with a song in the heart and melodic manna in the ears, a remedy sure to cure all ills and chase away dark shadows, much like The Joy Of Waiting as a whole really.
The Joy Of Waiting is available now via Railings Records, digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-joy-of-waiting/id963782296 and physically @ http://www.saralowes.co.uk/
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