Description of Current by Sarah Macintosh
From the first moments of Sarah’s new album Current, you know that you are hearing something that stands apart. Yes, her music nestles in comfortably within our acceptable parameters of pop music. The vessel is correct. But the contents are of a completely different color. From the opening track you are listening to that drop of color make its way into every space within the glass. The bouncy and unexpected harp that opens the album’s title track gives way to strings, a chorus of drums, and a huge melody – a sonic palette that should sound familiar to anyone who has spent time listening to the Nashville indie-act Paper Route, co-producer JT Daley’s other day job.
It doesn’t stop with the banging opening number, though. The entire album is punctuated by chamber-pop elements and instrumentation. The standard sounds you would expect in a pop song clash with small and intimate details, giving the sonic landscape a sense of familiarity but with a lushness and texture that rings new to the ears of those of us who are so accustomed to the conventional output of the record labels these days. And while these elements draw you in, it’s the voice that keeps you listening. Sarah’s voice is wonderful, true, but it’s her turn of melody, of taking that one thing you rely on as a listener, and flipping it on its head before righting it again (before you’ve even realized it!) that makes listening to Current such a breathtaking and engrossing experience. Her mixture of musical phrase and words that come not from her head, but from her heart are what make you realize that you are not engrossed in a pop album – you are engrossed in one person’s honest-to-God work of art.