Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sara Lowes - Back To Creation

In-demand Mancunian pianist finally gets round to making her own record.

The album title possibly referencing the fact that she's finally got around to making a solo LP, Manchester's Sara Lowes has long been in demand as a musician for hire, having toured and recorded with several name acts including King Creosote, Jim Noir and Micah P. Hinson, along with a long standing association with UK/US folk-psych outfit The Earlies.

Recorded at The Earlies studio, with Christian and Nicky Madden from the band on production duties, the album has a lovely analogue warmth which is sustained over the whole album despite all the changes of mood and style.

Having been schooled in classical music from an early age, and coming from a family of accomplished classical musicians, Lowes' skill as a pianist is apparent from the off; title track “Back To Creation” opening with searching piano chords and a vocal harmony wash before getting into it's Ben Folds style pop stride. It later offers a stylistic nod to Geno-era Dexy's Midnight Runners (always a good thing in this reviewer's book). 

Click over the jump for more on Back To Creation.
There's a playfulness and confidence in the song writing, and Lowes is not afraid of tackling different styles of music either. Take the atmospheric layered vocal of “Night Times”, a dead ringer for a great lost Sandy Denny folk rock track, or the mid 60's Byrds guitar jangle of “Vapour Trails”. The kaleidoscopic, time-travelling nature of this album continues with “Single Girl”, all brassy, Cardiacs style indie jazz, morphing into a Hammond driven groove.

Then there's Stax soul groove on “Something I Don't Know”, and “Caught in Wonder” with its Carole King style circular piano motif. Perhaps most adventurous of all is the prog rock syncopated drums and phased vocals of “I Wish”. This track is reprised as “I Wish, Don't You” as an instrumental finale to the album, complete with 70's analogue synthesizer squelches and far-out guitar and organ solos.

It seems Sara still can't turn down those offers to collaborate, there are 2 different side projects currently under way. That second album may be some time coming. In the meantime “Back To Creation” will do nicely. Summed up nicely by Sara herself on the hook-laden “Vapour Trails”..

“...I've been waiting to hear from you, words to believe in and words to cling to.”

Click here for Sara Lowes' website.