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Music Review

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Artist: Sarah Darling
Label: Darling Records
RRP: £13.99
8 66224 00035 2
Release Date: 07 June 2019

Nashville-based country singer-songwriter Sarah Darling releases her 5th studio album Wonderland. Recorded in the UK, Sarah’s second home, she turned to a rich pool of acclaimed British songwriters/producers - Matthew Benbrook (Lana Del Ray, Paolo Nutini), Seton Daunt (Kylie Minogue, Gabrielle Aplin), Jonny Lattimer (Nina Nesbitt, Sam Smith), Ash Howes (Kylie, Gabriella Aplin), Pete Hammerton (Little Mix, The Shires), MyRiot (London Grammar), Shelly Poole (Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jack Savoretti) and Jessica Sharman (Ward Thomas) – to create an album which builds on her acclaimed country routes, whilst embracing the pop sensibility that Britain is globally famous for...

Wonderland may be Sarah Darling's fifth studio album, but it has all the energy and drive of a first or second release. What's most surprising about this release is that every song on this 13 track album (46 min, 36 sec) could be a single in its own right. There's no b-side filler material here.

We open with 'Blue Sky' which sets the tone for what is to come. A fusion of western and pop music that is instantly infectious. 'Call Me' feels like a summer track that is best enjoyed while driving with the roof down. 'London Fog' is a slower, more intimate track... and so it continues, each track giving us something completely different, but no less entertaining.

I listened to this album and then put it aside for a few days before listening to it again. And it was odd how the songs had lodged themselves in my mind. Quite a few of them I thought I remembered from years ago - as though Darling had covered a song released by another artist. To my mind that's a sign of not only a good writer, but a wonderful performer.

If I had one slight issue, it's that the album closes on probably the weakest track 'Talk About the Weather', whereas 'Diamonds' or 'Dreams Fade Away' would have made for a much stronger finale.


Nick Smithson

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