Chances are, you've either never heard of Sarah Blasko, or you're head over heels in love with her. I am obviously in the latter party, and haven't been able to turn off her latest album, What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have for months. It's quite a departure from The Overture and the Underscore, a synth-heavy, heavily produced record full of songs that were, perhaps purposely, a bit rough around the edges. What the Sea Wants is a more mature, if not more subdued, collection of songs, complete with lush orchestration and compositions that seem a little more solid and a lot more personal than the previous record. One thing that hasn't changed from her previous work is her incredible voice. Blasko has, arguably, one of the best voices in music right now, and she knows exactly how to use it, from the high falsetto that opens "Hammer" to the stark, beautiful vocals on "The Garden's End". There's not one song on the album that gets skipped-- even the "average" tracks are really, amazingly good.
I first heard Sarah roughly two years ago when her soothing pop single "Counting Sheep" played pretty much daily on the satellite radio station at my work. I liked the song enough, but it wasn't until a few months later that I connected the song to Blasko, after a friend sent a mix CD with Sarah's version of "Flame Trees", a Cold Chisel song that she recorded for the film Little Fish. Immediately, I fell in love. What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have only cemented this.
The album, which was released in her native Australia in October 2006, has yet to be released by her North American distributor, Low Altitude Records, but the company lists the release for this spring on its website. The video for the latest single, "Planet New Year", can be seen on YouTube (for the curious), and while you US folks wait for the album, here's a few tracks to hold you over.