Sarah Humphreys — New Moon
Ξ Terrific start but fails to match up to opener...
Ξ Humphreys has penned an optimistic, heartwarming and mature set of songs. — Chris Familton
Ξ There are three standout tracks in the Australian troubadour’s third album, produced by longtime fan Kasey Chambers.
Location: Toowong, Queensland, Australia
Album release: November 20th, 2014
Record Label: ABC/Universal More Sharing Services
01. Take Your Time 3:58
02. Lover 3:46
03. Streetlight 2:58
04. Good Man 2:57
05. Read My Heart 3:28
06. Falling 2:36
07. Lonely Girl 3:18
08. California Widow 4:03
09. Sweet Lovely You 3:11
10. Dishonesty 3:06
11. Find Me A Way 4:23
12. Had You Only Loved Her 3:50
Review; Score: ***½
Ξ On her third album Sarah Humphreys continues to explore confessional folk music, this time with a dash of country thrown into the mix.
Ξ Kasey Chambers produced New Moon and though there are elements of twang on songs such as Read My Heart, Humphreys is more a fellow folk sister to Caitlin Harnett and Melody Pool.
Ξ Primarily these songs document affairs of the heart, the overall feel the endearing afterglow of newfound love — with an ode to a streetlight thrown in. With a vocal sweetness that never cloys, Humphreys has penned an optimistic, heartwarming and mature set of songs.
Ξ As she puts it, the album is called New Moon because “the songs are influenced by the cycles of life; it’s how things work. Every month the moon goes from new to full and you have that dark phase, but you always come out of it, into the light.”
Ξ Kasey Chambers produced New Moon and though there are elements of twang on songs such as Read My Heart, Humphreys is more a fellow folk sister to Caitlin Harnett and Melody Pool. Primarily these songs document affairs of the heart, the overall feel the endearing afterglow of newfound love — with an ode to a streetlight thrown in. With a vocal sweetness that never cloys, Humphreys has penned an optimistic, heartwarming and mature set of songs. Ξ http://themusic.com.au/
Ξ 4 stars — Mature, meditative offering from Aussie folk nymph.
Ξ For her third album, Sarah enlisted the services of Kasey Chambers to frame what is a record of engaging, beautifully melodic songwriting — so much so that one forgets the folk/country genre she ostensibly dwells in. Chambers' production is soulful, unpolished and laidback, realised most attractively on "Read My Heart" and "Lonely Girl". The mixture of the sprightly with the melancholy recalls Emmylou Harris's sumptuous 2003 record "Stumble Into Grace" — the understated simmer of electric guitar, Humphreys' playful lyrics and her delicate vocals are all constants on an album that sounds as natural and honest as they come. — Barnaby Smith, Rolling Stone Magazine
Ξ Sarah’s music has been described as immediately appealing folk/pop music with a 60's feel, compared to artists like Bic Runga, Bob Evans, Josh Pyke and Angie Hart. A natural singer, her voice comes from a very honest place captivating loyal audiences at venues all over NSW including The Basement, The Vanguard and Lizottes just to name a few. She released her debut EP 'Ghost On The Roof' independently in 2006 and has already recieved Triple J airplay of the title track. Drawing inspiration from a broad range of influences including Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell and The Beatles — her songs are melodically rich and from the heart. Sarah has finished her first full length album with producer, Michael Carpenter, due to be released in December 2007. Sarah plans to promote the album ‘teapot–trees and lovebirds’ by travelling all over Australia at the beginning of 2008 and throughout the year.
Photo: Sarah Humphreys is cut from an indie–pop folk template. Photograph: Paul Melnyk/Universal Music
Thursday 13 November 2014 22.53 GMT; Score: ***
Ξ The first song and single from Sarah Humphreys’ new album is terrific. Take Your Time is shot through with a self–deprecating honesty, appraising life on the road and as a mother. “I’m so goddamn tired,” she sings. “I’m so goddamn sad/And I play to a bunch of the back of your heads/And you carry on with your dinner.” Uncompromising, it’s a declaration of war and intent simultaneously.
Ξ With its Bob Dylan phrasing and jaunty pop swagger, Take Your Time rattles along and recalls Australia’s current Great Songsmith Courtney Barrett. It’s difficult not to sing along sympathetically, whiskey bottle close to hand, from the onset.
Ξ And you can hear the twang of her Central Coast upbringing as she faces off the pack. As I say, it’s a terrific starter.
Ξ The rest of New Moon, the Australian troubadour’s third album produced by long–term fan Kasey Chambers, is occasionally influenced by Chambers’ pop sensibility and personable enough, even if it doesn’t quite match up to its opener. There’s a little too much deference to the indie–pop folk template for that.
Ξ The ukulele–led Falling starts with a great couplet (“If I open my eyes I don’t love you/When I shut them tight I do”) and chugs along merrily: a good–natured, warm-hearted love song that never pries too deeply. This is music for late–night apartment–bound lovers; music to while away the lonely hours of the morning after too. The sentiments are universal.
Ξ The other standout, the delicate Lonely Girl — a possible follow–up single? — recalls one of Lesley Gore’s tear–streaked 60s dream–pop dramas, or perhaps something from the 90s Swedish pop band the Cardigans. It works because it separates Humphreys’ undeniably affecting voice from the sometimes overbearing accompaniment.
Ξ One great and two pretty–great songs among a set of 12 self–penned numbers. Ξ Not a bad ratio, on any count. Certainly better than anything buzz bands such as Tame Impala manage.
Ξ Occasionally, Humphreys’ songs detailing the sweet simple joy of being a parent can become cloying — I’m not doubting the sincerity of her paean to her child, Sweet Lovely You, but I don’t need its overt sentimentality either.
Ξ But the album is structured well: for every downbeat Read My Heart there’s an upbeat Dishonesty or hip–swaying Streetlight, with its mournful slide guitar playing sweet melody in the background. There’s the full gamut of emotions here, from heartfelt and sincere and honest and angry to heartfelt and sincere and honest and love struck.
Ξ As she puts it, the album is called New Moon because “the songs are influenced by the cycles of life; it’s how things work. Every month, the moon goes from new to full and you have that dark phase, but you always come out of it, into the light.”
Ξ There’s little to dislike here, but not enough to get truly excited about either.