I'll be transparent: Sarah Blasko is one of my favourite Australian female artists. In fact, one of my favourite artists full stop. Having had the pleasure to see her perform live, it's heartening to know her talents are genuine - her singing, songwriting and performance skills are nothing short of sublime. She's also not the kind of artist to stagnate, and with her new album 'Eternal Return', we bear witness to an altogether funkier side of this versatile artist.
In complete contrast to 2012's 'I Awake', this album draws its inspiration from the 70s and 80s. There are hints of the cinematic strings found on the last LP, but it's largely adorned with synths, and accompanied by a notably more positive outlook. Also in short supply are the quintessential tracks inundated with beauty and elegance - though Blasko's voice still gently croons along with each song, she's opted for more robust, danceable tunes.
Kicking off with the powerful 'I Am Ready', the synths are out in force, with an ample if not abrupt snare drum punctuating the tune. 'I Wanna Be Your Man' is a depiction of Blasko's experience as a female in the music industry, set to a chilled pop beat. Delving into another personal topic explored on this album, 'Better With You' embraces an intimate kind of songwriting focused on love and dedication. 'I'd Be Lost' is a disco-pop extravaganza, with Blasko not only raising the bar but also her vocal pitch.
'LUXURIOUS' - SARAH BLASKO
'Maybe This Time' is unexpectedly reminiscent of Kimbra; here we have another love-themed number set to an almost whimsical synth tune. In a much more laid-back affair, 'Beyond' offers a vast and romantic track which could just as easily have featured the sounds of Barry White. 'Luxurious' drops the tempo even further, offering a gorgeous tune perhaps most reminiscent of 'I Awake'. Fear not, as it's followed up by 'Only One', another vibrant ode to the 70s.
Musicians are creative creatures. They develop and they evolve. With 'Eternal Return', Sarah Blasko has surely done that. Although her previous albums may have provided more traditional tunes to match her voice, she has broken the mould with this offering. Be warned, it's very different - but in this case, the change isn't better, nor worse, it's just something new and different.
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