Sunday, 21 May 2017

Album of the Month: Sive - The Roaring Girl

Sive - The Roaring Girl
Photo: Brian McNamara Photography

Info: Sive is a songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist with a voice that "sweeps along displaying folk and jazz nuances with the confidence of one who knows." Her unique sound weaves together her love for the craft of songwriting with her enthusiasm for experimentation and intricate arrangements.

Sive released her first album of original material, 'We Are Moving', to critical acclaim in 2012. In the years that followed she toured extensively in Ireland, The UK, Europe and New Zealand, sharing stages with the likes of Kila, John Spillane and Gemma Hayes along the way. She was voted viewer’s choice to appear on RTE’s Other Voices in 2014 and has also performed on TG4’s Róisín, TV3’s Ireland AM, ARTE’s Metropolis (Germany/France) and ETV’s Terevisioon (Estonia).

Having run a successful crowdfunding campaign last year, Sive recently completed her second studio album 'The Roaring Girl' which is out now.

From the opening deep hum of strings on 'Turn Down The Silence' we are immediately given an indication of what to expect from Sive on The Roaring Girl. Both the track and album's titles hint at both frustration at an increasingly claustrophobic world and a strong desire to break free and escape to another world. The first foray into that freedom arrives on second track 'Swallow Me', vibrant and bubbling jazz piano and rippling guitar progressions accompany Sive's playful vocals, and as the track progresses they invite us into a dream-like state.

Sive - Wingless Bird

Single 'Wingless Bird' (above video) increases the level of brevity once again, the use of kalimba in particular, chimes and harmonies create a delightful slice of African-fused alternative pop and merriment, again the struggle between desire and reality is captured nicely in the lyrics. 'Water' sees Sive embrace a more traditional country-based folk tone, it's gentle and visually the music conjures up the image of a meandering stream which burst into white-water at its high-points. Like a Victorian ballerina music box, 'If I Had a Home To Go To' brings is back to a ballroom from the era and a quickstep waltz in salubrious surroundings, enchanting and very Lewis Carroll!

The beautiful 'Shoot the Stars' is quite breath-taking, soft clinking piano reminiscent of Debussy provides the backdrop to Sive's heart-wrenching vocals, as percussion and bass join the fray she enters more contemporary alternative pop territory, a little Bat for Lashes and a little Daughter spring to mind, but only vaguely. Another visit to her inner-country folk comes via 'Maude', before we are treated to what is perhaps Sive in her most natural habitat on 'Humans', very stripped back and minimalistic it lifts itself patiently from acoustic to a more rock-inclined crescendo.

The swathe of instrumentation and genre-spinning continues on the jazz-club meets lo-fi funk of 'You Are Only Your Own', there can be no doubt by this point that the artist has fully embraced all of the ideas and thoughts which lead to the writing of The Roaring Girl, and such carefree abandon is a delight to witness. It's never too much or disorientating as a listener, it's the perfect amount of intrigue for what might come on the next track from start to finish. Another vibrant classical piece comes on 'When You Come Down For Me', before the album signs off with a soft refrain in the form of 'Hoverfly' to leave us with that is without doubt one of the best independent Irish album releases of 2017 so far.

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