Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review catch up: Seeker Lover Keeper

Listening to Seeker Lover Keeper is like being allowed access to a secret society or being able to eavesdrop on a group of close friends talk intimately. Part confessional, part love-in, SLK is an Australian super group made up of indie pop pack leader Sarah Blasko, understated folkie Holly Throsby and slightly leftfield Sally Seltmann (who used to be known as New Buffalo and happens to have co-written one of the most famous songs in the world). SLK builds on the strengths of each of these performers resulting in a beautiful and focussed record.

In feel, the album is closer to Blasko's last record As Day Follows Night than the other artists' records and it must be said that Blasko's voice dominates as she takes more of the lead vocals. Given the otherworldly quality of her voice and her ability to convey emotion through the simplest turn of phrase, that's not a bad thing but Throsby and Seltmann both get their turns to shine. Throsby steals the show with the single Even Though I'm A Woman (written by Seltmann) and We Will Know What It Is while Seltmann burns bright on the (almost) rocking Every Time and the mournful On My Own. Blasko shows why she is such a loved figure in Australian music on all her tracks especially Theme 1 and opener Bring Me Back.

The album is largely acoustic so on first listen it can sound a little bit samey. Repeated listens highlight the real joy which can be found in subtle instrumentation that underpins the songs such as the restrained electronics of Rely On Me, the messy handclaps on Light All My Lights and the unmistakable subversion of Jim White's drumming everywhere (can we have a new Dirty Three record please?). Further, with three of Australia's best singers on record together, there are some gorgeous backing vocals and harmonies. This isn't a record for everyone but if you like female singer-songwriters or ever loved any of these artists solo work, Seeker Lover Keeper could make you swoon a little bit.


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