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.
3. Breathe Me
4. The Bully
5. Sweet Potato
6. Don't Bring Me Down
7. Natale's Song
10. The Church Of What's Happening Now
12. Where I Belong