Sarah Stock is a relatively new voice on the acoustic singersongwriter scene. She is based in the South-East of England, and "Home" is her debut EP. Any funds raised from this EP will support Crisis
The EP consists of 4 original compositions that each deal with the theme of the EP title "Home" from different viewpoints, and a rendition of a traditional folk song. Sarah accompanies herself very competently on guitar with crisp, accurate playing and some nice touches here and there. Throughout the EP it is Sarah's vocals and songwriting that are really on show.
The EP opens with "Lungs" - an intriguing song title that invites the listener to really listen to see what this is all about. It's a heartfelt lament for the state of the environment that focuses both on the global and the personal impacts of deforestation and pollution and humanity's lack of respect for the planet. Sarah's voice is immediately striking. She has a deep rich timbre which is very appealing, with diction that is clear and natural and well phrased.
"The Lady of the Hill" is a sensitive portrait of a woman down on her luck. The song has a warm melody and pleasant vocal delivery although Sarah's singing is really showcased by her a cappella rendition of "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme". She knows not to over-decorate her vocal lines, but offers enough fluidity and variety of tone to make sure the delivery isn't flat. It's a thoughtful, solid performance.
A softer melody and a rhythmic finger-picked accompaniment comes next for "Thinking of Home" which is also the most "traditional" sounding of the original compositions. But the last track, "No Fixed Address" has for me the most interesting guitar part and melody of the whole EP. It's a portrait of the devastation of homelessness and abandonment by society, but it is a beautiful song and works really well.
The EP is very well recorded and mixed and is not only a real pleasure to listen to, it will also serve as an excellent introduction to Sarah's music for anyone who hasn't heard her. I get the impression that what Sarah does on this EP, is not far removed from what she would do in a live setting. A very enjoyable and promising debut. I look forward to hearing more.
|Steve Earle: Ghost Of West Virginia||Lizzy Hardingham: Seven|
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