Sarah Darling - "Dream Country"

Sarah Darling's ethereal styling is becoming increasingly better known throughout both Europe and the US and this is set to continue with the upcoming release of her new album Dream Country. Due to be released on February 10th, Dream Country holds ten tracks including two covers (a version of The Smiths Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want and the Jill Andrews track previously featured on the TV show Nashville, Tell That Devil).

Interestingly it is through one of these covers that the strongest moment on this album is born. The two previous versions of Tell That Devil that have been released suggest that this is not a song you would expect to hear from the smooth songstress however it works surprisingly well. The gritty steampunk styling to the production pays homage to Jill Andrews version but the overall sound has been tweaked enough to successfully make the track Sarah's own. Showing another dynamic to her overall sound Sarah sounds very comfortable, the only thing I would mention would that it would be nice to hear a bit of a punchier attitude in the overall vocal.

Whilst the overall instrumentalisation of the two tracks arguably couldn't be much more different, I also found myself drawn to Where Cowboys Ride. Whilst it's unfortunately not specified which tracks include backing vocals from guest artists Sam Palladio and Charlie Worsham, it certainly sounds as though this is the moment where Charlie is included (Sam Palladio seemingly featuring on Anchor). The two interweaving vocal lines work very well and it would have actually have been nice to have heard that built upon more, the combination of Sarah and Charlie's vocals bringing a strong appeal to the track. The drum line is played with a brush which gives a distinct soft sound whilst also managing to add an audible depth to the track, keeping it from feeling too 'floaty'. All in all, a sweetly calm track that is distinctly listenable.

The bluesy style to Montmartre and the song-writing combination is, in theory, quite promising however the track ultimately falls short of where it could be. With a very slow, languid production line it does unfortunately seem as though the track as a whole feels uncomfortably drawn out. Whilst the overall production certainly suits Sarah's voice there is certainly more that could be done to hold the listener's attention and keep people coming back to Montmartre.

Track listing....
1) Wandering Star - Sarah Darling, Zach Runquist, Andrew Petroff
2) Where Cowboys Ride - Sarah Darling, Zach Runquist
3) Anchor - Sarah Darling, Sam Palladio, Jon Flowers
4) Tell That Devil - Emery Dobyns, Matthew Mayfield, Jill Andrews
5) Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want - Johnny Marr, Stephen Morrisey
6) Starry Eyes - Sarah Darling, Jessica Campbell, Minnie Murphy
7) Montmartre - Sarah Darling, Jenn Bostic
8) Halley's Comet - Sarah Darling, Cheyenne Medders, Rebekah Powell
9) You Take Me All The Way - Sarah Darling, Tyler Flowers, Cheyenne Medders
Bonus track - Stargazer - Jesse Terry, Jackson Beach

Dream Country is 'distinctly Sarah' with a sound that fans of hers and people who have seen her live have come to expect. If you prefer the grittier side of country music this is probably not the album for you as the majority of the songs have a delicate, ethereal feel to them and it feels as though you will have to be in a specific mood to listen to the album in it's entirety. I am sure that fans of the softer side of country music however will embrace this album, with minimal intrinsic issues within Dream Country itself. Definitely one to listen to if you like your country music soft and smooth.

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