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Sia Furler - Colour The Small One


Review: Jack Foley

AUSTRALIAN singer, Sia Furler, first broke onto the music scene when her unmistakable drawl was paired with the strident strings from Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet to create the memorable single, Taken For Granted - a top ten track which immediately had people hailing her as 'the next big R'n'B thing'.

Yet while the album it was taken from enjoyed a fair degree of success, it didn't really help to establish Furler as an artist in her own right.

Then she leant her vocal talents to Zero 7, for their Simple Things album and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sia was immediately the female singer on everyone's lips and her live appearances, with Zero 7, were enough to send shivers down men's spines.

Now she is back on two fronts - as both a returning Zero 7 collaborator, on the forthcoming album, When It Falls, and in her own right, on this intimate long-player, Colour The Small One.

And the first thing to say about it is that it's a far more pensive effort, with guilt, and how to deal with it, a recurring theme.

Tracks such as Bully, which recall a time when she was really cruel to another girl at school, or Don't Bring Me Down, are indicative of the pensive mood of things - yet while the subject matter may be serious, the nature of Furler's voice is such that it's difficult to become depressed by it.

Furler's vocals possess a soothing, almost dream-like quality, which perfectly compliment the laidback grooves of Zero 7, and which really ought to be giving the likes of Dido a bigger run for their money.

They're a little harder of course, veering into Tori Amos and, occasionally, Chrissie Hynde, territory, but they sound all the better for it.

That they haven't, as yet, challenged Dido, may stem from the fact that the beats, and jazz-like symphonies constructed here aren't quite so accessible to the mainstream, for there is something more deliberate, more slow-building about them, which occasionally mean the listener has to wait a while before the track pays dividends.

This is particularly so during slow-builders such as Rewrite and Moon, which creep up on you with a sort of wistful beauty. Many of the tracks may even take several listens, all the way through, before you finally come to fully appreciate them.

There is the odd ballad which fails to ignite quite so successfully, such as The Church of What's Happening Now, which is a little too earnest, but, in the main, this is impressive stuff from one of the world's most under-rated female vocalists.

Such is the power of Furler's voice, in fact, that Beck wanted to collaborate with her and the result, the aforementioned Bully, is one of the highlights of the album.

Furler fans won't be disappointed, while the Zero 7 entourage may feel this suitably whets the appetite ahead of their new album. It is a soothing listen.

 

Track listing:
1. Rewrite
2. Sunday
3. Breathe Me
4. The Bully
5. Sweet Potato
6. Don't Bring Me Down
7. Natale's Song
8. Butterflies
9. Moon
10. The Church Of What's Happening Now
11. Numb
12. Where I Belong

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