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|Written by Agnes Cadieux|
|Thursday, 18 February 2010 00:00|
Painting pictures with words is a unique gift, and it is not often that singer-songwriters bring us right into their essence, but Sarah Hallman does. Her third full-length album, Likely, wraps us in heartfelt piano and guitar melodies, which are scattered with deep, emotional lyrics that bring us back to the raw existence of the human spirit.
Her lyrics are honest, genuine, and filled with a depth that stirs something within the psyche. Influenced by children's art and people she has met, Hallman draws her inspirations from her own emotions, especially those she cannot put into words. Her latest collection shares that silent contemplation with us by whittling its way into our soul with somber, delicate sounds that pull at those emotions we cannot name.
With a voice that echoes the airiness and clarity of singers like Stina Nordenstam and Feist, Sarah Hallman takes the indie folk stage into her delicate hands and gives it a refreshingly eclectic feel.
Although the beginning of album was a little difficult to get used to, the more I listened, the more I realized it was weaving its way into my head. I was a bit disappointed with the first song because just after 1:32, it was over. Thankfully, the rest of the CD is consistent and rises and falls with comfortable predictability.
It took only ten minutes for the album to grab my full attention, and for me to dedicate myself to seeing what this CD was really about. The first up-beat tune on the album, "Sent Mail," managed to deliver forward and honest lyrics, while maintaining Hallman's sweet, calming voice. The message in the chorus is very confident and elicited a 'huh' moment from me as I found my foot tapping to the catchy beat.
"The Water Running" reflects the ambience of the album very nicely. Her deep, somber lyrics paint a picture in your mind, and draw out a sense of empathy for the experience she is singing about. It is an openhearted, unafraid story complemented with a beautiful, down-tempo melody that drives itself right into your marrow. It is extremely well done.
The title track to Hallman's third album, "Likely," is my favorite. It contains a bittersweet, brooding tune, and carries several dark undertones in her generally honest lyrics. The emotion borders on resentment, and her voice echoes this inkling by the soft, weary-souled way she delivers her message. The melody sets the tone quite nicely; its multiple layers and subtle rise and fall are injected in just the right places.The depth of Hallman's lyrics pulled at strings I didn't know I had. She closes her latest album with an uplifting tune that has you wanting more. Her sound is authentic and still unblemished by the mainstream music industry, and it is evident she is unafraid to do things her way. When it comes to depth, this album doesn't hold back. So whether you feel like having something on in the background while you settle in with a book, or listening to the words and music carefully in deep reflective thought, this album is a good choice to just pop into your player. Let it roll through its poignant soundscape and enjoy every minute of it.