Sarah de Warren is a name that first popped up on my radar back in February when she appeared on a track called All Night from Outcast favourites If You Like To Dance. Her voice suited that song right down to the ground, and it was a good tune in its own right so her name went straight into my notebook. (No not that notebook…)
Anyway, moving swiftly on de Warren’s brand new EP titled Overthink was released the other day so I think it is only right that I give it The Musical Outcast treatment.
I’ll let you in on a little secret… when I get sent music which is this good my job is the easiest in the world. Imagine it. Explain why you love your favourite song? What a walk in the park! It must be said that I really should have expected something of this high quality, as de Warren is yet another new artist to come out under the Sugar House banner and regular readers will know how highly I rate those guys.
So let’s cut to the chase. I always get a bit worried when my favourite track is the first song because it normally means that things are only going to head downhill, but it seems that the music Gods are smiling on me today. Vertigo is brilliant from the off and the rest of the EP follows suit. The main thing which has made me fall in love with de Warren’s music apart from her vocal is her ability to come up with a great little lyric and turn of phrase. For example, I think that;
“Three words I can’t say, it’s a two lane street going one way. You got it, I’m closed off, only sure how we feel with our clothes off.”
Is a fantastic couple of lines. The key to great and clever songwriting is in the simplicity and that is why those couple of lines work so well. Plus the majority of your audience will do exactly what I did and give a wry smile, ‘Yep been there, done that.’
Frank features a quicker intro and initial melody but the same light and alluring vocal delivery. I’ve said before that the best producers work to bring out the best in the artist and give them a platform to showcase their talents and that’s what Sugar House always do. Everything is so crisp and it complements de Warren’s vocal perfectly as it floats across the instrumental. For all the intricacies which I just alluded to, it still all means Jack if you can’t write a hook and on that score the Manchester based 21 year old delivers once more.
Penultimate track In Your Head should form the outline for the modern electronic ballad. The pace is a slow piano laced crawl with a gentle drumbeat skipping in and out of view. All of this tranquility builds towards a huge sweeping chorus which forms the focal point of the track. Stripped back minimalism meets electronic grandeur on what is a stunning blend of styles.
EP closer and title track Overthink isn’t built to funny or even particularly uplifting but it had me pulling out that wry smile again. (That’s two fingers up at the people who think that I don’t smile enough) The smile appeared because I’m sat here listening to someone sing part of my life experience to me.
“You say you like me more when I drink, because I have a tendency to overthink”
That line serves as a weird reminder of a previous relationship. Now I keep banging on about myself here because to be a successful artist and songwriter you need to be able to make songs that people believe and can buy into and that’s exactly what de Warren does so well.
It’s not all that often I get to say this but there is absolutely nothing that I don’t like about this record. The lyrical themes of love (or not) relationships and the mysteries of what’s in our own heads as well as each other’s flow throughout nicely. The production is completely flawless and the vocal from de Warren is fantastic. She manages to give electronic music soul and a real heartfelt meaning and that isn’t something that’s easily done.
There’s nothing left to say that I haven’t already said a million times. Overthink is enchanting, full of depth, full of feeling and most of all downright brilliant.
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