Saturday, 26 March 2011

Sarabeth Tucek
Get Well Soon
Sonic Cathedral Recordings
Out April 11th
Rating: 4.5/5

Right, so I've seen a fair bit written about this album and opinion has been very divided. I can't really understand why, in all honesty; I'm just not that into acoustic-y singer-songwriter-y stuff, and yet I fucking love this record. It is just good, like Fever by Sleepy Sun; it's the sort of record that you throw at somebody you know who's not a massive music freak when you want something that's guaranteed to blow them away. 

A fair few reviews have been 'Laura Marling this' or 'Laura Marling that', but I've never been a fan of hers or that whole navel-gazing Mumford and Sons folk scene, and frankly I don't get it. The link in the chain is Luther Russell, whose Motorbike EP was one of the soundtracks of my last summer; I'll be the first to admit that his influence is written large across this record, but it's altogether a classier, more complex- and dare I say it- darker affair than something that the Marling-Saturday-Radio-2 crowd could digest, and that's not just an elitist 21-year old talking (though I'll admit that is a factor).

So just what exactly does it sound like? Well, it sounds like a Sarabeth Tucek record; in some ways, it's not too dissimilar to her first, but this time it's denser and more sinister. Though she figures that it's actually more sparse instrumentally, it feels like there's more hidden in the grooves, more to discover on repeat listens and more depth to the arrangements. Where a lot of folk-inflected music touches on one or both of the English folk canon/americana canon and little besides, Get Well Soon delves deep into the deep wizards' pockets of psychedelia, even managing a couple of drum led wig-outs along the way that won't be unfamiliar to anybody that's persevered through the 'Floyd's Live in Pompeii film. 

To my mind, the best track is 'State I Am In', which (conveniently) is also the lead single, but honourable mentions have to go to 'Wooden' as well as the closing duo of tracks, 'Exit Ghost' and 'Get Well Soon', which seem calculated as a pair to round off the record on a more hopeful note. After such a dense, cathartic record, it's something of a welcome reprieve, and seals Get Well Soon as a true artistic progression for Tucek. Ultimately, it's a pleasure to listen to, so ignore the critics and decide for yourself.

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