As Day Follows Night
Sarah Blasko’s third album 'As Day Follows Night' showcases her ongoing development as a singer and songwriter, writes ADAM D MILLS.
The past couple of years have been a period of exponential growth for Sarah Blasko. Just as her second full-length album What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have was a massive step forward from debut The Overture and the Underscore, album number three As Day Follows Night showcases her rapid and ongoing development as a songwriter and performer.
Recorded in Stockholm with producer Björn Yttling (known to the world as one third of Peter, Björn and John), As Day Becomes Night sees Blasko step outside her comfort zone, utilising a new sonic palette drenched in jazz-influenced percussion and double bass and augmented by little more than the occasional flourish of piano or strings. Guitar figures very slightly here: it’s only notable appearance is the flamenco-esque acoustic that drives the heartbreaking ‘Is My Baby Yours?’. The spaciousness of the arrangements leaves plenty of room for Blasko’s voice, which is just as well, because it’s her best performance committed to tape yet.
Though there’s a distinct playfulness to tracks like ‘Hold On My Heart’ and ‘Over & Over’, As Day Becomes Night feels quite dark overall. The austerity of the instrumentation combined with Blasko’s intensely personal, deeply searching lyrics, make it much heavier going than either of its predecessors. That said, it’s not a gloomy album, or one that’s difficult album to digest. Opener ‘Down on Love’, with it’s almost Danny Elfman-esque arrangement for piano and strings, is a warm and welcoming invitation to the record, while the likes of ‘We Won’t Run’ and ‘I Never Knew’ are among the most affectingly gorgeous songs in Blasko’s oeuvre. But it is a challenging album, and one that’s full of (unfailingly pleasant) surprises.
“This record reflects personal, as well as musical growth. Several lyrical themes repeat throughout, the most notable of which is the struggle to feel comfortable in one’s own skin.”
This record reflects personal, as well as musical growth. Several lyrical themes repeat throughout, the most notable of which is the struggle to feel comfortable in one’s own skin. “Can’t please somebody else/Until you’ve learned to look after yourself,” Blasko sings on ‘Hold On My Heart’. The sentiment is echoed on first single ‘All I Want’: “All I want/Is to one day come to know myself.” Much more than lyrical rhetoric, it sums up the record’s strident confidence.
Though it feels at times like a risky album, there’s nothing tentative about it. Blasko has really pushed herself here, and the results speak for themselves. It might be her least instantly accessible record, but it possesses a timeless quality that makes specific reference points difficult to come by. All at once, it sounds as though it could have originated from any point in the past 50 years while still feeling entirely contemporary.
Sarah Blasko’s As Day Follows Night is out July 10 through Dew Process.