Tuesday, February 23, 2010

3, 2, 1... We have Blaskoff!

Aussie warbler Sarah Blasko launched her bid for UK stardom last night, playing a short, 40-minute set in London's wintry Soho. After last week's Gagavaganza, this was a simple, stripped back affair, with seven musicians elbow-to-elbow on a tiny stage - but it was no less impressive.

Blasko is a big deal back at home. She was recently named Best Female at both the ARIAs and the Rolling Stone awards, and she's been hand-picked by Temper Trap to support their upcoming UK tour. Now, she has moved to East Dulwich as she attempts to get a foothold in Europe.

The 33-year-old singer-songwriter has an intoxicating, husky voice. Quite rightly, she doesn't embelish it with studio trickery on her album, so you're immediately struck by how pure it sounds in concert, as she flits between doe-eyed vulnerability and that trilling, outer-space operatic thing Alison Goldfrapp used to do in the early days.

For a performer with nearly 15 years' experience Blasko seems unnecessarily shy, but she remains fascinating to watch - making intense, angular movements that bring to mind a Raggedy Ann doll impersonating David Byrne (the song Over And Over even lifts a few lines from Road To Nowhere for its coda).

The set is entirely comprised of tracks from her third album, As Day Follows Night, which is released over here in April. Produced by Bjorn Yttling of "Young Folks" fame, it is a crisp collection of folk-pop, full of dainty piano riffs, brushed snares, and understated strings. The arrangements may be easy to replicate on stage, but not with this amount of soul and verve.

Arbitrary verdict: 8/10

Sarah Blasko - No Turning Back (live)

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