Album Review – Sahara Beck ‘Volume One’

There’s got to be something in the water here on the Sunshine Coast, as there are some extremely talented young women bringing out some killer albums of late.

I going to admit, I have a soft spot for one Miss Sahara Beck. I first saw her perform at Cafe Envy on a Friday evening, and since then I’ve been quite a fan. It’s something about her voice (which walks a fine line between innocence and utter mischief), the stories she tells through the song, and how they are told.

I knew the album was coming, but given that she’s a solo artist, I was expecting a mellower affair, stripped back with just her curiously smokey voice and guitar accompaniment.  I was very surprised (in a good way) that the album, ‘Volume One’ is very full sounding, with lush backing arrangements which almost give Sahara a commercial sound, but at the same time easily to remain alternatively indie enough to please the hardest of the J listeners.

Sahara enlists a little help from her friends, including mentor Harii Bandhu who provides much of the backing, and this definitely fleshes out her sound. Sahara flutters between sounding like Lisa Mitchell or Julia Stone, but when she starts to rock out (and she does) a little bit of the old Killing Heidi sound creeps in… and it works.

Given her age (tender age of 15), it’s actually refreshing to follow the lyrics (love, heartbreak, dreams) without the typical teenage shmultz. There are times where she’s wearing her heart so much on her sleeve that you just want to give her a hug, but then she brings it all back, with a cheeky smile in her voice as if to say, ‘hey, it’s ok, let’s just dance instead’.

If she keeps going the way she is (fingers cross she does… given the right push and a hint of luck in the industry), Sahara will be, and should be branching out into bigger things.

What I love about this album is that I’ve been listening to it while on vacation in the US, and it’s her sound (admittedly with a few other favourite Coast bands of mine) that make any homesickness disappear.

Key tracks – Smile in the Dark, Music Takes Control, Lucky You’re With Me, and I Love You Man.

Visit www.saharabeck.com for more on Sahara and samples of her music… then grab the album.

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